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Daily Disasters: More than half of workers damaged business technology whilst working from home

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More than half of workers (52 per cent) have seen vital business technology damaged since Covid-19 forced millions to work from home in March 2020, according to new Direct Line business insurance research.

More than six in ten (62 per cent) said that they were responsible themselves, but others cited surprising culprits.

Over a quarter (26 per cent) said mischievous or clumsy children had caused the damage, while more than one in five said their housemates (22 per cent) or partners (21 per cent) were responsible – hopefully not upsetting too many relationships in the process.  

Regionally, London was the most accident-prone city, with an astonishing 77 per cent of Londoners saying that they had damaged their business technology since the first national lockdown.

Overall, more than one in three (35 per cent) said that they’ve had more accidents than they did when they were working every day in the office.

The most common reasons for the damage were:

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  • Spilling food or drink on the equipment (29 per cent)
  • Electrical faults, including power surges (23 per cent)
  • A trip or fall resulting in equipment being damaged (20 per cent)
  • Leaving the equipment on a hot surface (19 per cent)
  • Partner or housemate using the equipment (16 per cent)
  • Leaving the equipment outside (13 per cent)

More than seven in ten (72 per cent) said there was more than £500 worth of damage, while over one in three (35 per cent) reported it to be more than £1,000.

These problems are also taking time to be resolved. Over a quarter (29 per cent) said it took 3-5 working days to get the issue resolved, with 26 per cent saying it took 1-2 working weeks – hugely inconvenient for those trying to meet deadlines and keep projects moving.

Surprisingly, many employees aren’t reporting these issues to their businesses. More than four in ten (42 per cent) did not make their organisation aware because they thought they could fix it themselves (25 per cent), thought they could still use the item (24 per cent), believed they might have to pay out of their own pocket (24 per cent) or were worried about getting told off by their boss (21 per cent).

The most common items of business technology damaged were:

  • Laptops (25 per cent)
  • Work mobile phones (22 per cent)
  • Desktop PCs (19 per cent)
  • Desk phones (11 per cent)
  • Tablets (10 per cent)

Direct Line has launched Business Tech Essentials, a new service to help businesses get back up and running quickly in the event that essential tech is damaged or stolen while working from home. The service is included with Business Contents cover for Retail, Hair and Beauty and B&B as well as with Electrical Items cover for Office and Professional customers. It provides customers with £2,500 worth of complimentary business equipment cover, per person, whilst they work at home and replaces tech within 24 hours of a valid claim.

Jane Morgan, SME Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, said: “Our research shows that working from home can be risky. When vital business technology is damaged, there can be a significant impact on an organisation’s ability to operate and on its overall productivity levels.

“There is also the financial impact to consider. If an organisation doesn’t have insurance which covers business technology, the costs of replacing or repairing equipment could be significant – hitting SMEs at the worst possible time just as the economic outlook is improving.

“Our Business Tech Essentials services help small businesses to feel secure in a hybrid working model – providing confidence that employees will never be offline for long should disaster strike.”

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Customers needing cover above £2,500 per person when working from home, can increase this by adding Property Away from the Premises cover to their policy. This add on covers their business equipment when out and about elsewhere and also comes with the Business Tech Essentials service, providing 24-hour replacement of essential tech following an approved claim.”

Business Tech Essentials covers mobiles, laptops and tablets, desktop PCs and phones, TVs and printers.

(Lead image: shutterstock / mdbildes)

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Swansea

IT businesses who want to work with Swansea Council now have to show cyber security credentials

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close up view of system hacking in a monitor

Swansea Council is taking up the baton in tackling the ever-increasing risk of cybercrime becoming the second local authority in the region to make cyber resilience a must-have for all businesses it tenders with. 

In its ongoing commitment to safeguard businesses in the area, Swansea Council is partnering with the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC), and is asking organisations that tender for ICT Cloud goods, services or works to, or for, the council to have Cyber Essentials or a minimum of WCRC Core Membership.

It is now the second local authority in Wales, after Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, to bring in these criteria as a ‘must-have’ as part of its procurement process ensuring an effective and simple way for contractors to understand how to increase their cyber resilience by taking simple steps.  

Phil Roberts, Chief Executive of Swansea Council, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales to provide help and support to SMEs and micro businesses within our community.

“We are determined that Swansea businesses have in place simple measures that make themselves more resilient and have the means in which to do so. Therefore, we have introduced the need for Cyber Essentials, or at a minimum, membership of the cyber resilience centre into our procurement process for organisations within our supply chain, so they are provided with the right support to improve their cyber security. This in turn allows us to provide services across our communities in the safest way possible.”

To strengthen the cyber resilience message even further, Swansea Council is also encouraging organisations and individuals across the city to utilise the WCRC services which helps protect supply chain businesses and third sector organisations in Wales against cyber-crime.

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Director of the WCRC, Detective Superintendent Paul Peters, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Swansea Council in our ongoing commitment to protecting companies against this ongoing threat from cyber criminals. Establishing Cyber Essentials as part of its procurement process, Phil Roberts  and his team are paving the way for organisations to be more cyber resilient and to guarantee they, and their supply chain are no longer at risk. But we recognise that not all businesses will achieve this, so as a minimum they will have the support and guidance of the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales. 

“Now that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Swansea Council have both introduced these measures, we hope it’s only a matter of time that others follow, and we look forward to assisting many more businesses across the area in strengthening their cyber security.”

The WCRC is a partnership between the police, private sector and academia set up to help Welsh businesses protect themselves against cybercrime. It provides micro, small and medium-sized organisations with free and affordable cyber resilience guidance designed to help protect themselves from attack. Those who sign up to its free Core Membership receive practical guidance on the cyber security basics. There is also the option to upgrade to a flexible paid-for range of options to suit the level of support required.

The centre works closely with trusted partners;  a group of certifying bodies verified by the Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises Consortium (IASME) to help firms achieve Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus Certification, which members have access to.

Visitors to the centre’s website will also be able to download its Little Book of Cyber Scams, a dedicated booklet which highlights the techniques criminals will use to try to steal from and exploit you.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Police force issues warning to those using e-scooters on Welsh streets

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Dyfed Powys Police has issued a warning to people using e-scooters on Welsh streets, threatening hefty fines and points on your driving licence to those caught out.

Privately owned e-scooters are growing in popularity and use. However it is currently illegal to use them on public roads, pavements or cycle paths in Wales.

The only place to legally ride an e-scooter is on private land with the permission of the landowner – everywhere else it is against the law.

Anyone considering purchasing or using an e-scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle paths risk being issued with a £300 fine, six penalty points on their driving licence and having the e-scooter seized.

Additionally, for any driver or motorcyclist that has passed their driving test in the last two years it could result in a driving disqualification and the need to re-take both the theory and practical driving test.

Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in some parts of England, but they should only be used within the local area hosting the trial.

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Chief Inspector Thomas Sharville from Dyfed Powys Police’s Specialist Operations Department, said: “I would remind anyone considering purchasing an e-scooter that it is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle paths. Their speed and silence can pose a significant danger to other road users and pedestrian safety, especially vulnerable pedestrians.”

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Education

High voltage safety award for Martin

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Mechanic, Martin from Newtown has been recognised after completing the latest safety training for working on electric vehicles

Newtown College has been offering Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training since early 2020 after a pioneering move by Newtown College Motor Vehicle department to keep with the changing needs of the automotive industry.

These part-time courses are industry recognised and were introduced with the support of Welsh Government for specialist equipment and Personal Learning Account (PLA) funding. The introduction of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) courses Level 1- 4 came after recognition of a need for Motor mechanics and related tradespersons to become industry competent, to meet the needs of the growing popularity of electric and hybrid cars.

Many of those who have completed the courses are from local businesses. One of which is Martin Stevens from Electric Classic Cars (ECC) in Newtown.

Martin has completed Level 2 and Level 3 of the ILM Awards and now sits on the safety board of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). Martin explains that the training was essential for his role as senior Electric Vehicle Technician at Electric Classic Cars, a local company that turns classic cars into electric vehicles giving them a new lease of life and making them road fit for the 21st century.

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The company whose notoriety grew quickly following its success in car conversions and appearances on TV shows such as Guy Martins: The World’s Fastest Electric Car and Fully Charged, as well as having their own show Vintage Voltage, which features the ECC mechanics tackle a range of classic car conversions now employs a team of 15 staff.

ECC are committed to having all workshop staff Awarded the IMI Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training.

Richard Morgan, CEO of Electric Classic Cars and star of Discovery TV show ‘Vintage Voltage’ (Image: Discovery TV)

CEO Richard Morgan said: ‘This training is imperative for our members of staff. Like any qualification, it provides a level playing field of knowledge. The content covered in the course reinforces the awareness of safety standards required when working with high voltage equipment. We are lucky that the local college and lecturer Dan Prichard were forward-thinking enough to react quickly to the training needs of the industry”.

Dan Pritchard, Lecturer said: “The course is open to anyone interested. It starts with basic vehicle and safety awareness at level 1, maintenance and repair at level 2, Level 3 would be for those working on low voltage systems carrying out diagnosis and repair, and level 4 is for high voltage system diagnosis and repair”.

He went on to say: “It’s great to support the local workforce like Electric Classis Cars and to help others prepare for a move away from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid. We have not just had onsite training but have also been involved in virtual training to International interests such as our recent collaboration with delegates in India. After all, lowering carbon emissions is of worldwide interest and the focus on electric and hybrid vehicles is one of the largest changes seen in the Automotive industry in over 50 years.”

(Lead image: NPTC Group of Colleges)

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