News in brief: mobile, loyalty, data, auto-enrolment

News in brief
News in brief

SMEs rank theft of customer data as a top concern

SMEs globally rate theft of customer data as the most critical risk of cybercrime, according to a survey of 3,000 SMEs by Zurich. While 28% of respondents rated the risk of data theft as most critical, reputational damage ranked as the second most critical risk (16%).

One in six (17%) SMEs still considers themself to be too insignificant to attract the attention of cyber criminals. Zurich does not share this view since hackers are not only looking at the size of the potential gain, but also at the ease of committing the crime.

Zurich global head of special lines Lori Bailey commented: “The results of this year’s SME survey, as well as the Advisen Cyber Survey findings, reveal that demand for cyber insurance is growing significantly around the globe. However, there is still a misconception among some SMEs that they will not be affected by this pervasive issue. We at Zurich are continuing to invest in identifying risks and delivering solutions to meet the expectations of our customers, irrespective of the size of their business.”

Entrepreneurs have a positive outlook for the next three months

Around 89% of entrepreneurs believe they will be profitable over the next three months, according to London-based law firm Bircham Dyson Bell. In fact, almost 75% claimed that they would be confident of starting a new business in the current climate.

The key findings of the firm’s research were:

- 89% of entrepreneurs believe they will be profitable in the next three months.

- 78% of businesses believe consumer demand will increase in the current political and economic climate.

- 73% of entrepreneurs would feel confident starting a new business in the coming months.

- 64% of businesses have employed new staff in the past three months, up from 34% in the previous quarter.

- 63% of businesses reported an increase in customer levels with the majority remaining ‘very’ confident that their business will remain profitable over the final quarter of 2015.

- 50% of UK businesses have seen an increase in revenue in the past three months.

- Almost half (48%) of entrepreneurs have used a mentor to help their business, with the majority seeking the advice of a mentor when setting up (33%).

Commenting on the findings, Bircham Dyson’s head of entrepreneurs team Hollie Gallagher said: “Our latest Entrepreneurs Optimism Index shows that, despite some recent economic uncertainty, optimism amongst British businesses is unwavering. Buoyant entrepreneurs are sharing their expertise, recruiting more and – in turn – are continuing to play a crucial role in creating jobs and wealth for the country.”

SMEs must not bury their heads in the sand over auto-enrolment

Big changes to workplace pensions taking effect next year are an accident waiting to happen for small and micro businesses, according to experts at Richmond House Group (RHG).

Automatic Enrolment for workplace pensions will impact small firms from January next year but many small businesses are still not ready to implement schemes that meet the new requirements. According to the Pensions Regulator, more than 1.7 million small and micro-employers are still yet to stage, with approximately 4.5 million employees to be enrolled into a workplace pension.

, Pensions expert at RHG Ian Jenkins said: “Too many small firms are burying their heads in the sand and hoping auto enrolment will simply go away.

“The reality is that from January auto enrolment becomes a reality rather than a distant prospect. The good news is there is still time to get it right, but it’s important to act now.”

UK businesses fail to prepare for the worst

UK businesses are failing to prepare for a worst case scenario, putting themselves at risk of huge financial losses. Research carried out by central London data centre City Lifeline has found 60% of businesses are ill-prepared to react when disaster strikes. This is despite UK SMEs collectively losing £831 million during last year’s winter floods, proving lessons still haven’t been learned.

Natural disasters are not the only issue however, with companies stating network outages are the biggest frustration in the business world.

City Lifeline MD Roger Keenan said: “Last year’s winter floods showcased just how important it is for businesses to prepare for worst case scenarios. Although the floods caused many tragic incidents which were impossible to prevent, steps should have been taken to ensure recovery processes were in place in all business premises.”

UK consumers increasingly prefer mobile loyalty schemes

Consumer appetite for traditional loyalty cards is declining, giving rise to opportunities for future mobile loyalty initiatives, according to global experience design agency Foolproof.

UK consumers love loyalty schemes but have concerns about personal data, value vs effort and lack of space in the wallet, all of which shows that the traditional loyalty card market is in danger of becoming saturated. In contrast, the research showed that consumers are ready for a more intuitive approach to loyalty that uses the smartphone as the medium for delivery of offers, reminders and redemption.

The survey conducted with 1,000 respondents revealed that:

  • 85% had some kind of loyalty card in their wallet
  • 65% of respondents admitted to turning down additional cards, with 35% saying they hadn’t any more space in their wallet for more schemes
  • 50% of people said that they would be more likely to use loyalty initiatives more if they were all housed on the mobile
  • 48% of people said that they use mobile loyalty apps regularly (at least once a week)