SME news in brief: late payments, businenss crime, HR, data threats

FSB calls on government to make Small Business Commissioner a priority

The Enterprise Bill has received Royal Assent and has become the Enterprise Act. It is hoped that the package of measures in the Act will help the government deliver on many of its commitments, from cutting red tape and tackling late payment to boosting the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the government to prioritise the appointment of the Small Business Commissioner which is due to be confirmed in the summer as part of the act. The body will be crucial in helping to tackle late payment practices.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “The new Small Business Commissioner must have the confidence and respect of the entire business community and the strength to take on large businesses where necessary. The Government should now lay out a timetable so that businesses are clear on when the Commissioner will be in post…

“This Commissioner has the potential to make a real impact on addressing bad practice across the UK economy’s payment culture. However, the role must have a clear focus on tackling supply chain bullying, and sufficient powers to intervene and resolve late payment disputes in a timely and effective way.”

New PCCs urged to put business crime prevention at the heart of their role

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has congratulated the new Police and Crime Commissioners elected across England and Wales, and has urged them to tackle business crime more closely.

Nearly a quarter of smaller business owners (24%) do not report any crimes committed against their business. When asked why, most said they felt they would not see a positive outcome (46%). This highlights an ongoing lack of confidence in the police’s ability to deal with business crime and it is important that PCCs urgently address this issue. Business crime acts as a barrier to growth for the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses and in the worst cases, puts entrepreneurs out of business.

One in four employees is shopping for a new job

Almost a quarter of workers are currently looking for a new employer, due to being dissatisfied with their current one.

A joint study from CIPD and Halogen Software has revealed that job satisfaction had fallen from +48 to +40 in the first quarter of 2016.

Gibbs S3 CEO and founder Farida Gibbs said: “Employee retention is essential for continual growth: the relationships and company knowledge that people develop over time should not be underestimated. But the process of employee retention process at the beginning of a candidate search. Experts within the staffing industry can help companies to make the right decisions for the long-term.”

How to spot a fake ransom attack

The number of DDoS for Ransom attempts worldwide grew significantly during the last week.

Radware researcher and a former hacker Daniel Smith explains: “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for Ransom attacks work by running a ‘sample’ attack on a company network while at the same time sending a note asking for payment, usually in bitcoin, by a certain date ‘or else’ they will hit the company with a much larger and more devastating attack. When companies pay up, the hackers take advantage of the situation by returning to extort again. It’s a simple game of squeezing more money once they know they have your attention.”

According to insight from Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), many of the letters used to request the ransom are fake, yet companies are falling for the scam. Radware is warning SMEs to take caution when assessing the legitimacy of a threat, and to consider seeking expert advice to help decipher the threat level to their business.

How to detect a fake:

  • Fake hackers request different amounts of money. Armada Collective normally requests 20 bitcoin. Other campaigns have been asking for amounts above and below this amount. Low bitcoin ransom letters are most likely from fake groups hoping their price point is low enough for someone to pay rather than seek profession assistance.
  • Real hackers prove their competence by running a small attack while delivering a ransom note. If you can see a change in your network activity then it’s probably genuine
  • The fake hackers don’t link you to a website, or have official accounts, a good sign they are not organised
  • Real hackers tend to attack many companies in a single sector. Fake hackers target anyone and everyone