Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category
SECURITY experts are warning all organisations to beware of unregulated one man bands entering the data destruction sector and urge all businesses to use British Security Industry Association (BSIA) fully accredited shredding companies.
As ID fraud and security move higher up the news agenda a plethora of shredding companies have entered the confidential data destruction market to capitalise on this. This coupled with the news that businesses of all sizes are trying to reduce costs, means a host of companies could be looking to employ cheaper off site shredding companies to destroy public confidential information.
Recent data security breaches include last week’s news that police were investigating the contents of a computer memory stick said to contain sensitive anti-terror material which was reportedly found in the street outside a police station in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. Furthermore Zurich Insurance was recently fined £2.3m by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for losing personal details of 46,000 customers.
Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy, one of the UK’s largest confidential data destruction companies, said:
“These non regulated one man bands may offer a cheaper shredding service at the outset but do you know how secure your data is? Ask your data destruction company to provide you with an on site shredding service so you can see your waste being destroyed. Also demand a Certificate of Destruction which confirms the time and date of the destruction. When you’re dealing with highly sensitive information like medical records, addresses and bank details it’s imperative they are securely destroyed.
“I’m calling for greater recognition of accreditation in the security sector. Look out for shredding companies who have BSIA / UKSSA / NAID certification. This ensures a high quality and reliable data destruction service that’s delivered by fully qualified shredding businesses guaranteeing peace of mind.”
Daren Wood, northern regional general manager at the BSIA, said:
“We would advise any businesses dealing with confidential data to choose a trusted information destruction supplier who will dispose of it correctly and in accordance with current laws. The BSIA is a great place to start when sourcing a reputable shredding service supplier, as all of our members meet strict criteria and adhere to high standards of quality.”
Key questions to ask a data destruction company before employing them:
- How does the company recycle the data?
- Can you see the data being destroyed in front of you?
- What proven quality and Security Association membership does the shredding provider have?
- Who is handling your data? What checks have been carried on the operatives?
- Can the company provide client references?
Desperate job seekers are being targeted by employment scammers, say security and legal experts.
Last month saw the number of people placed in permanent jobs fall to the lowest levels since the start of the year. Similarly, the Government’s emergency budget, aimed at cutting the deficit, will soon result in the loss of approximately 600,000 public sector jobs.
Legal experts say criminals are preying on a growing number of people who have lost their jobs. The most popular fraudulent scheme at the moment is mystery shopper positions.
Neeta Laing, head of employment law at Lewis Hymanson Small, said;
“Criminal fraudsters are taking advantage of the difficult employment situation. Job hunters have recently been targeted by fake adverts in local papers. Scammers advertise in local papers, asking workers to provide personal details and pay to become a member. The moment there is any mention of money upfront, alarm bells should ring.
“To check if an advert is authentic, look out for a registered website, Google the business, examine registered trademarks, call up the business to get more information and see if its legitimate.
“These opportunists are committing fraud. Many of these false companies are fronts for criminality, often involved in money laundering or identity theft and aimed at stealing money from bank accounts.”
Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy and a security expert, said;
“By registering for these false adverts you will be unwittingly giving criminals your bank account details, date of birth and email address. That means a canny criminal could get a passport in your name, open a bank account, take out loans and use your address. Its paramount to check out the authenticity of these adverts in local papers.”
Jim’s five top tips to spot a scam:
1) Use a search engine to research the company and look for reported scams
2) Beware of job adverts that ask to pay money
3) Never give your bank account details before securing a job
4) Be wary of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and generic email addresses in ads.
5) Make sure the company has a registered office rather than just a PO box number
Following this week’s Emergency Budget, by the new Chancellor, George Osbourne, here’s what our Financial Controller, Ged Taylor, has to say about the potential affects on SMEs.
Raising the threshold that companies start paying national insurance by £21 per week together with scrapping the previous Government’s planned increase in N.I. contributions, makes it easier for SMEs to employ more staff.
The cut in Corporation Tax by 1% for each of the next four years, taking the rate from 28% down to 24% will enable companies such as Shred Easy to re-invest more in growing the business and creating employment opportunities.
The high price of fuel is a major concern for many SMEs including ourselves. We welcome the fact that there are no further increases in fuel duty planned, although the increase in VAT in January 2011 will have an effect. It is hoped that this budget will signal a serious attempt to reduce the country’s deficit and lead to a strengthening of the Sterling against the U.S. dollar, which would push the price of fuel downwards.
Value Added Tax
It was inevitable that there had to be a major tax increase somewhere. The increase in VAT to 20% from January 2011 brings us in to line with our European neighbours. By increasing taxation on spending rather than earnings, this does not have a negative effect on encouraging people to work and generate wealth.
The fact that the increase comes after Christmas should ensure that the impact on the economic recovery is mitigated.
Whilst the increase may have some effect on our trading we recognise this as a necessary evil that will go some way towards reducing the massive deficit.
Tackling the deficit
Hopefully the public sector spending cuts that have been announced together with welfare benefit cuts, the levy on the banks and the VAT increase will give the international community confidence in our country. We would not wish to go the way of Greece and Spain with reduced credit ratings, forced cuts and subsequent higher borrowing costs.