How SME’s can be more environmentally friendly

Reduce your environmental impact with these top tips on going green in the workplace
With deadlines to meet and targets to hit, thinking about the environment is rarely a priority in the workplace.

But just a few surprisingly simple changes can have a significant positive impact on the environment – and also on your finances.

The Carbon Trust Standard estimates UK SMEs could collectively save nearly £400 million per year in energy costs, and over 2.5 million tonnes of CO2, by reducing their carbon footprints.
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7 Tips to Obtain GDPR Consent

On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, which expands the rights of individuals and their data while placing greater obligations on organisations that process personal data.

However, one of the most important GDPR changes involves strengthening consent standards. Failure to obtain proper consent to process data, which includes contacting individuals, could result in significant fines. The maximum fine tops out at €20 million, or 4 per cent of global turnover, whichever is higher. To help your organisation comply, here are seven practical tips on how to obtain consent: (more…)

IPT Hikes Home Insurance Premiums

The insurance premium tax (IPT), which rose to 12 per cent on 1 June, has caused the average annual premium to increase by 7 per cent, raising home insurance costs by £131. This is the sharpest rise within the past three years. As home insurance is vital, follow these tips to help you keep your costs as low as possible:

  • Increase your excess. By paying a higher excess, you may be eligible for a reduced premium on both your buildings and contents insurance. However, keep in mind that if you have to a file a claim, you will have to pay that increased excess.
  • Review your policy. The value insured for your buildings insurance needs to reflect what the cost would be to rebuild the property and not the market value, which is likely to be higher.
  • Combine your buildings and contents cover. Research whether you could save money if you combine your buildings and contents cover, or if it would be cheaper to keep them separate.
  • Determine whether paying upfront or by instalments would be cheaper. Compare the one-off sum and the various instalment options to see which is the most cost-effective.
  • Reduce your risks. The more protection your home has, the safer it will be and the more affordable your premium. This could involve the following:
    • Fireproofing
    • Adding window and door locks and installing a burglar alarm
    • Installing strong, well-sealed doors and windows
    • Purchasing a safe
    • Insulating water pipes

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‘Insta-bragging’ Could Invalidate Your Insurance

Wanting to share photographs from your holiday on social media is perfectly reasonable. However, posting those updates could leave you vulnerable to risks, such as burglary or, in the future, could invalidate your contents insurance policy.

Experts warn that soon ‘Insta-bragging’, which involves posting photographs while on holiday, could invalidate your insurance by violating your policy’s ‘reasonable care’ clause. This clause usually applies to your responsibility to lock windows and doors, thus ensuring you’re taking reasonable care to deter burglars. However, in the future, this could apply to social media posts you make while on holiday.

Even though you may not think that posting a simple snapshot is risky, it could alert burglars that your home is empty and vulnerable. In fact, according to alarm and security systems provider, ADT, 78 per cent of burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential vulnerable properties. (more…)

Cyber Attack? It’ll never happen to my business, right?

Well actually, if you’re a small business owner, the chances of being a victim of cyber crime is now higher than ever …

  • In 2016, 66% of small firms surveyed were victims of cyber crime
  • SMEs fell victim to seven million cyber crimes over 2014 and 2015
  • The total annual cost of cyber crime to SMEs over 2014 and 2015 was £5.26 billion
  • On average, SMEs will fall victim to four cyber crimes every two-year cycle

Federation of Small Businesses, Cyber Resilience Report 2016

Literally thousands of businesses suffer cyber-attacks daily and, whilst there have been some high-profile crimes, like the NHS’ WannaCry attack, you’d be wrong to think no-one’s interested in a small business like your’s.

Indeed, criminals are actively targeting SMEs because fewer processes make them vulnerable to human error, such as loss of confidential data and sensitive banking information. And attackers are using more and more sophisticated methods, from hacking into bank accounts, to duping businesses into transferring funds to them via fraudulent emails. (more…)

Understanding GDPR Consent

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or the Data Protection Bill, will come into force on 25 May 2018. Despite there being less than a year for UK organisations to become compliant, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has yet to finalise its consent guidance, which it plans to release in December. As the specifics surrounding consent requirements under the GDPR are still subject to change, it can be a challenge to know what proactive measures your organisation can take now.

Nevertheless, it’s expected that the central components of what is currently known about GDPR compliance will remain relatively unchanged when the official guidance is published by the ICO. For that reason, your organisation should review how it obtains customer consent to ensure that it meets the following GDPR requirements: (more…)

Safeguard against Record-breaking Rainfall this Winter

Nearly 17,000 homes and businesses flooded during the winter of 2015-16 and this winter could be worse. Britain is expected to experience unprecedented rainfall, with records to be broken by up to 30 per cent, according to the Met Office. What’s more, 1 in 6 UK properties are at risk for flooding, according to the Environment Agency, so it’s essential that you protect your home.

Even though floods cannot be completely avoided, there are easy and effective preventive measures that you can take now to minimise the potential damage. (more…)