Connect with us

Business

Research reveals UK SMBs are struggling to manage company data effectively

Research reveals UK SMBs are struggling to manage company data effectively

With increasing data regulation and changing work habits, findings reveal that there’s never been a better time for British SMBs to take control of their data

  • Over a fifth of UK SMBs still use USB drives as their primary data storage solution
  •  Almost half of SMB employees find it challenging to access their work files remotely
  • Nearly a third of SMBs admit to deleting old files off their servers less than once a month

Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), a world leader in data storage solutions, today reveals new research into the data habits of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), suggesting that many British companies are finding it hard to store and manage their company’s data effectively.

The research polled a representative sample of 1,006 UK SMB employees, asking them about their employers’ data storage practices, preparedness for GDPR, cybersecurity policies, and how often they delete outdated files from their work computers and company servers.

Over a fifth of SMBs rely on USB drives for company data 

  • Only 35% of SMBs have company storage centralised with on-site servers
  • 29% use cloud-based storage solutions, while a sizable 23% of SMB employees reported using portable storage such as USB drives as their primary way of storing company data

Storing company data in disparate locations represents a significant security risk, as well as making it time-consuming for staff to sift through lots of documents to find what they need. Rapidly-growing SMBs need data storage that can grow with them, which is why network-attached storage (NAS) drives are an ideal solution for UK businesses. NAS drives allow businesses to store many different types of data in one location, as well as schedule regular backups, and because of this they are the safest, most secure and cost-effective way to centralise company data.

 A change in work culture is shaping data storage requirements 

Brits’ work habits are changing: at least 14% of employees in the UK work from home, according to the Office of National Statistics. Seagate’s research found that the proportion of employees who work from home is as much as two thirds of those surveyed, suggesting that SMBs are ahead of the curve on Brits’ preferred work habits. The rise of mobile devices has given many of us an expectation of being ‘always on’ and ready to work at a moment’s notice. However, UK SMBs are at risk of not taking full advantage of the potential productivity gains remote working provides:

  • Nearly half (49%) of UK SMB employees who work remotely report having difficulty accessing their work files out of the office
  • 46% of staff at companies with 50-99 employees run out of space for their data at least once per month

Flexible working is a valued benefit and a great way to attract and retain staff. SMBs can capitalise on their remote working offering by investing in on-site data storage solutions that guarantee staff will be able to achieve peak productivity regardless of whether they are in the office, at home, or travelling for business. 

SMBs are great at backing up their data but are unsure of best-practice & regulation

UK SMBs have strong procedures for backing up their data, with backups happening 15.4 times per month, or approximately once every two days. Over a quarter (28%) of SMBs back up their data at least once per day. However, good data management is more than just backing up data promptly, and the research suggests that SMBs could be doing more to protect their data as they grow and consolidate their businesses:

  • Over half (52%) of workers at companies with 10-249 employees reported not deleting items off their work computers more frequently than once per month
  • Four in ten (44%) of UK SMB workers either aren’t sure of their company’s GDPR policy, or say it doesn’t have one
  • 15% of UK SMB workers say their company has suffered from a data breach or cyberattack. Almost a quarter (23%) of employees reported their company does not have a plan of action in the event of a data breach or cyberattack, and 37% did not know if there was a plan in place.

SMBs can build on their existing backup processes by centralising their data in one place, and communicating to their employees the importance of following agreed procedures to ensure data is handled safely and effectively. 

Alessandra de Paula, director of channel marketing EMEA at Seagate, said: “Britain has nurtured an impressive ecosystem of entrepreneurs and SMBs over the past few years. These businesses are ambitious, driven, and looking for rapid growth in markets often packed with incumbent big players. In this landscape it’s easy to appreciate why data management, data protection and regulatory compliance aren’t always top of the priority list.

“However, data is the new currency of the digital age; and SMBs that take control of their company data will find that it pays dividends in the increased productivity and efficiency their employees will demonstrate when they are able to access the data they need, wherever they need it.”

Seagate is a global provider of data storage solutions for businesses at every stage of their journey. Seagate’s IronWolf and IronWolf Pro drives, available in sizes up to 12TB, are an ideal solution for fast-moving small and medium-sized businesses looking to consolidate their on-site storage infrastructure and ensure they are ready for the latest developments in data security and management.

For more information, visit https://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/hdd/ironwolf/

Business

From furlough to returning to work – employees are feeling insecure in their future

From furlough to returning to work - employees are feeling insecure in their future 1

New data looking into 6,273 employees, commissioned by Perkbox, the employee experience platform, has revealed the considerable impacts of the furlough scheme and the prospect of returning to work to wellbeing.

The research revealed that despite being a job retention scheme, furlough has led to a huge 61% of workers on the scheme with concerns over their future job security, and a further 42% have concerns about the future of their company due to their employer’s participation in the scheme. This is despite almost half (45%) enjoying the time off and break from working that this time provided. 

Furthermore, it’s not just those a part of the scheme that are feeling the impacts. Almost 1 in 5 (19%) who weren’t furloughed by their employers (but their companies did utilise the scheme) felt more secure in their job by not being chosen to be a part of it. 

The scheme hasn’t just led to insecurities, it’s also led to potential rifts between colleagues. 29% of those on furlough felt guilty about not working, while over 1 in 5 (21%) felt guilty for extra work that colleagues had to take on in their absence. Those who remained working over this period had to work harder (19%), experience more stress due to taking on extra responsibilities (18%), which ultimately impacted emotional wellbeing (16%). Resulting in 1 in 10 feeling resentful for their furloughed colleagues’ time off. 

As insecurity levels are high, employees expect company leaders to take personal action before considering redundancies. A huge 65% stated that they believe senior leadership should take a pay cut first, before considering options for staff – just 14% responded that they wouldn’t expect this from their leaders.

Moreover, as the furlough scheme changes, many are returning to work by encouragement of the Government. Despite this encouragement, less than half of employees (47%) feel safe in regard to returning to work (equal between office and non-office based workers), with almost a quarter (24%) feeling ‘unsafe’ about this transition.

Looking at what companies have done to prepare for a return to work, it comes as no surprise as to why employees may be apprehensive. Just 15% of businesses have set a fixed date for returning to work, a further 22% of employees have received no clear guidance on how to return to work. Furthermore, less than a third (31%) reported that their employer had implemented all of the necessary safety equipment to return to work, with just 30% establishing a clear back to work plan. 

Just 4% state that their company is planning to switch to completely working from home – begging the question of when companies are planning to communicate back to work plans. 

Continue Reading

Business

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key 2

By Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

As lockdown restrictions ease for the foreseeable future, conversations across the business world are starting to turn to how employers can safely and seamlessly prepare for their workforce to return to the office.

Research from Robert Half has found that over half (54%) of employees are worried about working in close proximity to their colleagues, while a similar proportion are eager to return to the office due to loneliness working from home (45%) or concerns about missing out on career opportunities (30%).

Unsurprisingly, after everything companies and their employees have done to successfully adapt their operations and working practices to social distancing rules over the last few months, immediately returning to the old ways of working will likely neither be sensible or practical. With safety being the key priority for the ‘new normal’ of office life – communication, flexibility and preparation should be the main focus areas for employers.

With this in mind, what are the challenges and opportunities that employees anticipate as they prepare for the return to work, beyond government and industry supplied health and safety best practice? Furthermore, how can employers best support their staff during this period?

Keep people at the heart of change

It is important to recognise that your workforce has been working through an intense period of uncertainty and change for months, which can be incredibly unsettling. On top of this, working for weeks in isolation without the usual physical interactions with team members could be potentially detrimental to employee engagement and mental wellbeing.

Having adjusted to keep staff connected with one another from a distance with virtual team building exercises, video calls and daily check-ins, as teams begin working in hybrid models with some in the office and others remote, staff engagement will need to adapt again.

Managing people with greater sensitivity and maintaining positivity throughout will be crucial. To help instil a sense of normality and engagement, encourage maximum collaboration between individuals (in accordance with social distancing rules), and make sure teams feel part of company goals and opportunities through regular meetings and communication – no matter their location.

Continuing to invest in technology and offering flexibility will also be important to ensuring that people can continue to work remotely or on-site, either in accordance with their own wishes or as part of your staggered return-to-office plan.

Communicate, communicate, communicate (and listen)

Reassuring staff that they are able to safely return to the office will require continuous communication. From expectations of the physical office, to expectations of how to operate within hybrid teams, these new expectations and new workplace requirements should be communicated to all staff clearly to avoid confusion.

Regular email updates, updates on the company’s intranet and social media channels, as well as frequent town hall meetings (either online or in a smaller setting) could be key elements of an effective communications approach.

Also, consider a feedback channel to allow staff within the team to offer thoughts on their experience of returning to the office and any suggestions on improving the process. Whether on a company-wide basis or a team-by-team approach, schedule regular check-ins to engage with employees’ questions and concerns.

Maintaining open communication channels with your team will be essential for keeping up employee morale and ensuring clarity. For example, if some employees aren’t comfortable with coming to the office every day, then they should have plenty of opportunities to voice their concerns and have them dealt with promptly, respectfully and fairly.

Staggered return-to-office planning

Depending on the size of business and density of office space, maintaining home working arrangements across teams on an alternating basis could make it easier to implement safe social distancing. This involves select teams working remotely while others work on-site on any given day.

An alternating approach to remote working might also reduce the risk of staff feeling pressured or overwhelmed by an immediate return to the office five-days-a-week. After all, some families might be juggling temporary disruptions to childcare arrangements and public transport systems will likely become crowded again. So, a transitionary period will help everyone adjust to post-lockdown office working.

Finally, if you have developed your technology infrastructure to facilitate remote working, you would do well to continue to leverage these new capabilities as in all probability, a mixture of remote and at-office work will be needed for some time.

Continue Reading

Business

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy  

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy   3

Leading payments provider, Contis, has applied for two grants from the RBS & BCR Alternative Remedies Package, totalling £35 million.  

Unlike most applicants who will deploy funds through a single brand, Contis is taking a completely different approach. The funding will be used to drive fintech innovation in the UK by developing an off the shelf, B2B electronic and card payment technology platform for SMEs. With Contis’ powerful tech stack and regulated status, this will empower hundreds of fintechs to support the SME market with groundbreaking technologies, payments and lending capabilities. Contis today services over 800,000 consumer accounts, 14,500 business accounts and processes £4bn in transactions per year, demonstrating a proven track record.   

UK businesses are facing a challenging economic environment with the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit. As large corporations and entire sectors are affected, SMEs will play a vital role in the recovery. Contis’ approach is completely disruptive, offering three channels to maximise support for SMEs and sole traders, through three unique brands, all powered by APIs from Contis’ modular and configurable engine. 

1.       Canvas for Business 

Contis is a super-vendor in the world of fintech, offering payments through proven banking rails and card scheme capabilities including issuing pre-paid, debit and virtual cards. They’re linked to digital delivery like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and a trusted tech stack that boasts 99.99% uptime.  

With funding from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), Contis’ technology and regulated services will be made available to the whole fintech community, enabling them to provide dedicated SME accounts with the latest leading-edge capabilities delivered via Contis’ wholly owned, secure, cloud-based technology and apps. Contis’ solution has a firm eye on the need for SMEs to compete internationally, particularly after Brexit, and offers FX integration as standard.  

Canvas for Business will increase competition by providing fintechs serving the SME market with technology that outstrips the big banks. Contis will also provide credit referencing capabilities and empower fintechs to lend to their SME client base through Contis’ own credit licence. Without the constraints of legacy systems, it will enable simple connectivity to accounting and payments solutions, as well as to unlimited future innovations.  

2.       Engage for Business 

Over 150 Credit Unions currently use Contis’ Engage service and technology, and hold an estimated £400 million in undeployed cash reserves. Developed with CIF funding, Engage for Business will enable Credit Unions to launch business accounts and payments products for the first time, and allow excess funds to be redeployed in the SME sector through business support loans. This will revolutionise access to funding for sole traders and small businesses. 

3.       Freedom for Business 

With CIF funding, Contis will also offer large scale SMEs a direct-to-market solution where Contis holds the relationship and provides a bespoke offer to meet the business’ exact needs. 

Contis’ application to the Capability and Innovation Fund is focused on creating the widest possible impact for UK SMEs by fulfilling their accounts & payments needs and driving innovation in SME financial services. 

Through the grant, Contis will empower over 200 fintechs and Credit Unions to provide credit, simplify payments integration into everyday business needs, offer digital credit referencing, provide budgeting tools to SMEs, enable automated payments, give predictive insight on cash flow, provide rewards to SMEs on spending, and much more. 

Peter Cox, Founder and Executive Chairman of Contis said: “Our mission is to democratise payments and financial services for all SMEs, so they’re spoilt for choice with innovative and affordable solutions that meet their exact needs. Our approach, based upon proven technologies, will broaden and disrupt the services available to SMEs far beyond the capabilities of existing providers such as the big banks.  

“By driving competition and innovation, while improving the availability of funding, our approach will increase the services on offer to SMEs and make them more affordable, therefore becoming easier for every entrepreneurial person with vision to run their own businesses.” 

Continue Reading

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

Matt Kolling Matt Kolling
Banking4 hours ago

UBX appoints new Chief Investment Officer

In line with its strategy to explore and invest in companies and platforms of the future, UBX—the Fintech and Corporate...

Workforce Diversity Matters To Our ESG Evaluation 4 Workforce Diversity Matters To Our ESG Evaluation 5
Top Stories11 hours ago

Workforce Diversity Matters To Our ESG Evaluation

We believe the limited representation of Black voices in key decision-making processes prevents companies from reaping the benefits of a...

Blackline reveals CEO succession plan 9 Blackline reveals CEO succession plan 10
Technology12 hours ago

Blackline reveals CEO succession plan

By President & COO Marc Huffman appointed CEO as of Jan. 1st, 2021; Founder Therese Tucker to serve as executive...

From furlough to returning to work - employees are feeling insecure in their future 11 From furlough to returning to work - employees are feeling insecure in their future 12
Business13 hours ago

From furlough to returning to work – employees are feeling insecure in their future

New data looking into 6,273 employees, commissioned by Perkbox, the employee experience platform, has revealed the considerable impacts of the...

How mortgage regulations are changing globally 13 How mortgage regulations are changing globally 14
14 hours ago

How mortgage regulations are changing globally

By Globalaw members Oliver Foerster, Partner @ Huth Dietrich Hahn, Roberto Sparano, Partner @ Quorum Legal ,Paul Tully, Managing Director and Partner...

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key 15 Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key 16
Business3 days ago

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key

By Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK As lockdown restrictions ease for the foreseeable future, conversations across the business...

How sustainable AI improves the triple bottom line 17 How sustainable AI improves the triple bottom line 18
Technology3 days ago

How sustainable AI improves the triple bottom line

An investment in green AI enables financial services firms to align people, profit, and planet By Nick Dale, EVP business...

The impact and implications of Covid-19 on financial reporting 19 The impact and implications of Covid-19 on financial reporting 20
Finance3 days ago

The impact and implications of Covid-19 on financial reporting

By Mark Billington, Regional Director, Greater China & South-East Asia, ICAEW The economic consequences of Covid-19 have been unprecedented, affecting...

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy   21 Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy   22
Business3 days ago

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy  

Leading payments provider, Contis, has applied for two grants from the RBS & BCR Alternative Remedies Package, totalling £35 million.   Unlike most applicants who...

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver 23 Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver 24
Business3 days ago

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver

Nearly a third (32%) of consumers would switch providers if a brand’s website is unavailable for more than 24 hours...