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Embrace HR Aylesbury Cybercrime Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The threat of cybercrime to British businesses is very real – and increasing all the time. This is one subject you shouldn’t ignore…

British businesses lost almost £30 billion due to cybercrime in 2016*. And nearly half fell victim to some kind of cybercrime, whether that was phishing, hacking, denial of service attacks or viruses.

If you are unaware of the damage cybercrime can do – just think back to May, when the NHS was subject to a ransomware attack, which brought down systems around the country, resulting in chaos and cancelled operations.

Is your data safe from hackers?

As hackers increasingly exploit human vulnerability, what can HR do to fight back? Protecting against cyber assaults is a more complex issue than just throwing money into better software and training your IT department. Read People Management’s new report [CIPD: Cybersecurity is too important to be left to the IT department 27/06/2017] to find out about the vital role HR has to play in educating employees and addressing organisational vulnerabilities.

People Management’s report reveals that 46% of UK employees spent half an hour or less on cyber security training in 2016, with 27% having done none at all. A new attitude towards training is clearly needed and Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, believes the trick to delivering effective cyber security training is to show how cybercrime could affect staff in their personal lives.

Take this free e-learning module [CIPD: Cyber Security for HR Professionals] on cyber security for HR professionals, to learn how to protect yourself and your organisation.

Speaking recently at an event with the Financial Times, Peter Cheese said that lifelong learning will be vital to future sustainability in a world where ‘data is the new electricity’.

So, it’s vital that companies are protected – and it is not just down to the IT department, HR has a role to play too.

HR’s role in cybercrime

The HR role is to educate employees, after all that is your strength. IT staff may know all the ins and out of cybersecurity, but it is the HR staff who have the skills to pass that knowledge on to the staff. And at present, according to Government research, only 17% of businesses are training their staff to be aware of cyber security.

It is obvious that that figure needs to change – and fast. This has to be a culture change within the organisation: you need to make sure employees buy in to the very real threat that cybercrime can pose to the company. They need to be aware, for instance, that you can’t just use random USB sticks in company computers without knowing what’s on them and where they come from.

And it’s not just in-house staff that need to be part of the culture change – freelancers and contractors need to be brought on board and made aware of the risks and the protocol to follow within your organisation.

When it comes to your training methods, if you can make it fun and engaging, you’ll be halfway to winning the battle. For consultancy firm PwC, the answer was to introduce a digital game called Game of Threats, which mimics a cyber-attack on an organisation.

And at the end of the day, companies also need people who are experts in the matter. HR has a role to play in ensuring that IT staff or consultants with specialist knowledge in this area are brought on board and are up to speed with the varying threats from cybercrime, as well as having the tools to tackle it.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

*Data from a report by Beaming [Beaming Ltd: Cyber security breaches cost British Businesses almost £30 billion in 2016 01/03/2017]

Embrace HR Aylesbury Planning Ahead

This is the last time that we will see a Spring Budget – the main budget will be seen in the Autumn from now on – so the way businesses plan their year may also change in response to this.

These are the main points that concern HR and human resources departments:

Self-employment

The announced plan to increase NI rates of the self-employed was met by uproar, especially as the present government has made a pledge to support the small business. As a result, Chancellor Philip Hammond had to make a U-turn on this in the days that followed the announcement. Good news for the moment for the ever-increasing gig economy.  Read our previous blogs on the Gig Economy here.

The initial decision was intended to help even up the tax benefits between employed and self-employed people, with Hammond stating that there was around a £4,000 disparity between the tax paid by an employed and self-employed person each earning £32,000. However, as critics have stated, the self-employed don’t benefit from the likes of sick pay, holiday pay and maternity pay to name just a few.

But as more people diversify in their working lives, experts say that this has only served to highlight that issues with taxation will become ever more complex – and could be a threat to the gig economy if people can no longer afford to freelance.

Back to work

An interesting development for those of us in HR is the promise to support those returning to work after a career break. A total of £5 million has been set aside to help these people, which will of course include many women coming back into the workforce after having children.

Business rate

Business rates are set to be capped, so that they will not rise by more than £50 a month. A £300m discretionary fund will go to local authorities to enable them to help businesses with their rates where they see fit.

National Living Wage

As we know from the Autumn Statement, the National Living Wage is set to increase to £7.50 this month. The personal tax allowance rises to £11,500 and the higher tax rate now starts at £45,000.

Educations, skills and training

Technical skills come into focus, with the launch of T-Levels, for those training in the sector from age 16-19, while the number of technical courses available will be cut in order to raise the quality of the remaining ones. £40 million will be ploughed into the Department of Education to test and pilot a number of lifelong learning projects. Increasing STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths) in schools is also going to be a priority.

 

And finally, you should have heard from the Pensions Adviser or someone in your organisation who may have information about your staging date. Most payroll companies use the auto-enrolment software and can set up the scheme, but if you have any queries please contact us at admin@embracehr.co.uk.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

 

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Aylesbury Business of the Year Award

Cecily Lalloo is delighted to announce that her company – Embrace HR Limited – has won ‘Aylesbury Business of the Year’ Award at the inaugural SME Buckinghamshire Business Awards, which took place at the Double Tree Hotel, Milton Keynes, on Thursday 30 March 2017.

As Cecily Lalloo was out of the country at the time of the award she invited her team, clients and other small businesses who had supported the company’s growth to attend on her behalf – “I’d asked Shirley Parsons to accept on my behalf as I have known her since 1996 as my former employer, and then client and mentor. Everyone was so excited on my behalf and FaceTimed me the news.”

The requirements of the award, sponsored by Events & PR, were to show outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination, as well as sound management practices. In addition to being based in Aylesbury, entrants to this award were also expected to demonstrate sustainable growth combined with a degree of commercial success that is exceptional for the size of the business.

Embrace HR Limited was started in 2009 and, as the company gained more clients, Director, Cecily Lalloo recruited VA’s (Virtual Assistants) and other HR associates to support the business, growing quickly to a team of six. In March 2016, the business moved to premises in Porters Lodge, Aylesbury.

The awards were launched on Valentine’s Day, inviting business leaders to show the love for what they do. In the business community, SME stands for ‘small to medium enterprise’ but in this instance, said Ian Cording, FSB Regional Chairman, “stand for ‘smooth, mad-for and embrace’”.

Cecily Lalloo, said “I am absolutely over the moon! I am passionate about my business and the work that we do and extremely proud of Embrace HR, so its lovely to gain recognition by winning the award. Like many other small businesses, I work with other small businesses and find this works well for us all.”

For further information, visit www.embracehrstage.wpengine.com or contact Cecily Lalloo on telephone: 07767 308717 or send a message.