The IT Security Threats That Could Take Down Your Business

If you do any business at all online – and most of us do – then I hope you are looking into the right protection. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of genuine threats out there that could result in your business going under. And, even if you manage to stay afloat, losing customer data can be incredibly embarrassing. It’s a PR disaster that you might never recover from. Today, I wanted to highlight some of the most dangerous issues you need to make yourself aware of. Let’s get started right away.

Theft of devices

The increase in remote working for businesses has been a fantastic boost for businesses of all kinds. But it isn’t without its threats. A stolen or lost laptop can easily end up in the wrong hands – and the consequences for companies can be enormous. Customer data, employee records, sensitive information – the list is endless. If you are enjoying the benefits of remote working in your business, ensure you are also taking security seriously. Any data that you allow off-site should be encrypted, so it is unreadable to anyone without a password. It might not be enough to stop the best hackers out there, but it should give you enough protection for most incidents of theft.

Malware and viruses

Malware and viruses have been around for a long time, but they are still a major threat. They get ever more sophisticated by the year, it seems. If you want to protect your business against malicious code, make sure you take cyber security seriously. Robust systems in place will help, of course, but you also need to train and educate your staff. If everyone is aware of recent examples of malicious codes, Trojan horses, and viruses, they will be able to deal with any suspicious threats.


Angry employees

Your employees are likely to have access to many of your IT systems, from your databases through to your social network accounts. It’s an issue for many reasons. What happens if the employee is disgruntled about the way they are treated? Or what happens if a third party gets them to act as an insider? Your employee might even be approached by blackmailers who want access to your data. As you can imagine, one individual could be responsible for a lot of damage. Make sure that you divide up critical tasks and functions so no one has access to everything. You should also make sure that most employees only get access to your social media accounts, rather than full admin rights.

Easy wireless network access

How secure is your wireless network? If you are a small business, the chances are that you setup the wireless as per your service providers instruction. But you are also more likely to keep your default password. The trouble is, lists of these default passwords are available to anyone in the world who wants them. It means that hackers can often access WiFi whenever and wherever they like. The results can have a serious impact on your business, as once a hacker gets into your online system they can wreak havoc. Change those passwords often, And ensure you are encrypting your network with Wi-Fi Protected Access.


Spam & Phishing

Finally, spam and phishing emails are responsible for so many IT security issues that you will experience them on a daily basis. Some you can spot a mile off. But others are far more hard to see through. In recent years, I have received phishing emails that look like they have come from Barclays, Natwest, and even HMRC. And they can be incredibly convincing. It is essential that every person in your business understands the basics about phishing email. And, why it is so important to be alert when opening emails. While mail providers do a fine job in finding spammy messages, they don’t catch them all. All it takes s for a single click or the entry of a password and it can prove catastrophic to your business.

Don’t underestimate the threat of poor IT security. You might think you are a small business who isn’t of interest to a hacker or criminal. But the truth is that this is how they make their money – and you are every bit a target as the major global corporations. The scary thing is that hackers can gain access to your system, steal data, access money, without you even realising. And before you know it, you could be in serious financial strife and have a PR disaster on your plate.

Continue Reading

Recruitment Must Pay Off: The Payroll Tricks You Need to Know

Businesses need to recruit people in order to stay profitable and functional. Evey recruitment decision you make needs to pay off for the company. And most of these decisions are related to the business’s payroll. If you’re not doing things properly, taking care of your payroll can cause you stress and a lot of wasted time. That’s why you need to be aware of all the payroll tricks below.

Use a System That’s Suited to Your Form of Payment

There are systems and software packages that you can use to manage your business’s payroll. You should definitely use one of these systems, but choosing the right way should be done carefully. The most important thing to ensure is that you choose the system that is best suited to your form of payment. Do you pay your employees a fixed salary? Or are they paid by the hour? These payment methods are very different, and your system needs to be able to deal with the one that applies to your company.

Hire the Best People to Help

Your company’s payroll is not always easy to manage. In fact, it can be very difficult indeed. This is something that you should be aware of from the start. There is no shame in admitting that you don’t understand how to keep everything ticking over. The only stupid thing would be to carry on handling the payroll system by yourself when you don’t know what you’re doing. This only leads to mistakes that can be costly and time-consuming to put right later on. So, get the best help you can find. Making use of experienced and professional accountants will make the task so much easier.

Photo Source

Keep Records and Documents in One Place

Every single document or file relating to the company’s payroll and employees’ individual pay should be kept. Having all this documentation in one place can make life so much easier for you further down the line. You’ll never have to be left rifling through drawers and cabinets when you need a document. And it could be safer to keep paper copies of important documents. But if you do that, make sure that they are stored very carefully. You should keep hold of things like vacation times and tax forms for a fixed period of time before destroying them.

Automate Taxes

Your employees will have to pay income tax and national insurance on what they earn from you. You can make things easier for everyone if you automate this process and use the PAYE system. This is very easy to setup. And it means that all income tax and national insurance contributions are collected automatically. There are factors to take into account though. You don’t need to do this if you don’t hire people who earn more than £112 per week. That means that if everyone works on a part-time basis, the PAYE system might not be needed. You have options that allow you to choose how to run the system. You can let someone else do it for you if you’re not willing to do it alone.


Photo Source

Continue Reading

Have You Ever Wondered What Your Employees REALLY Think Of You?

So you’ve got a team of people working for you. When you head into the office each day, you get greeted with a smile and friendly conversation by your team. But, did you know those smiles might be masking some resentment towards you?

The sad truth is that most workers are afraid of speaking out about unfair work practices. As a result, they let that resentment and frustration fester inside of them. And then they will get to a point where they look for a job elsewhere and resign from your company. Of course, they won’t tell you the “real” reasons why they are quitting!


When you run a business, it’s hard to devote 100% of your time to everything! You have to juggle your attention towards the most pressing of matters. Plus, it’s likely you will feel somewhat weary as you’ll need to work long hours too. With that in mind, some company bosses fail to spot the telltale signs of when their staff aren’t happy.

Here are some of the reasons why your workers may have a negative view of you and what you can do about it:

The work is tedious

Every single human being on the planet needs mental stimulation. If we didn’t have challenges to overcome, life would be incredibly boring! As you can imagine, if you do the exact routine every day in your job, you’d have little mental stimulation.

Sure, you might ensure that your staff get treated fairly in their work. But, if that work isn’t varied, they could end up becoming unproductive. That’s because their minds might wander and they could start to make epic mistakes in what they do. And that’s not a good thing to happen, especially with mission-critical tasks!

The way to avoid that problem is simple: make everyone’s jobs more enjoyable. One example could be to give your staff special projects to work on. Another may involve carrying out different tasks each week.


Public Domain Images

They get no respect from you

When you hire employees, you are paying them to carry out a series of tasks for you. Some business leaders forget that employees are people with rights. They aren’t slaves! As such, bosses shouldn’t treat their staff with contempt.

Instead, it’s important to make employees feel valued. And it’s vital that you show them how crucial their contributions to the company are. If you don’t treat your workers with respect, expect a high staff turnover. And even investigations into unfair working practices by local government.

You aren’t paying them enough money

Let’s face it. Money is a big motivator when looking for a job. The sad truth is some people feel compelled to take on a job that pays a low wage. Why? Because earning some money is better than being broke and jobless at home!

It’s no secret the job market is in a state of flux. The harsh reality of business is that some bosses take advantage of that fact. They feel they can pay only minimum wages for highly-skilled staff. When, in fact, they should pay according to the person’s skills, experience and value.



Many employers also offer their staff a range of benefits. Again, offer little to no benefits, and your team will feel aggrieved with you.

Some companies are unsure what to pay their staff. Is that the case for you? If so, consider getting an employee pay and benefits guide by Croner, for example. You can also do plenty of online research from notable recruitment websites.

Inflexible working hours

Many employees will have a plethora of commitments outside of work. The most notable ones are children! As you can imagine, parents often find it hard to juggle child care with their working days. If their bosses ask them to stay back to finish a project, it can screw up their plans for that day.

The good news is that more companies are offering flexible working hours to their staff. And, thanks to the Internet, it’s possible to spend some time working from home remotely. If you’ve not given much thought to flexible working hours for your staff, now is the time. Not only will it boost morale in your firm, but your team’s productivity will increase too.

Poor leadership

Last, but not least, some employees might hate you because you aren’t a good leader. Staff need someone at the helm of the ship, as it were. They need to know what goals they should be aiming for. And they must understand why they need to reach those targets.

If you’re not a good leader, consider hiring someone that is.

Good luck!

Continue Reading

Manager Material – The Skills And Qualities Every Boss Needs

So you think you’ve got what it takes to get that promotion, become a manager, and lead your own team? You may think becoming a manager isn’t that much of a step up from your current role. After all, you just need to be responsible for a few extra people, right? Wrong! In fact, there is so much more to being a brilliant boss. First of all, you need to have the following skills and qualities.

Picture: Pexels

People Skills

This is probably the main skill every manager and boss needs. You need to be able to communicate effectively with everyone you work with. That includes those above and below you in your company’s hierarchy. By liaising effectively between different people, you are opening up communication streams. And this will help those working under you feel like their voices are being heard. You also need to be able to let everyone know exactly what you expect from them. That way, operations continue to run smoothly. If there ever is a problem, your employees will not have a problem raising it with you.


It is super important to be aware of what is going on the company. You also need a keen eye so that you can tell if something is ever going on with your staff. If you believe that one of your employees is having a tough time at home, it may be worth having a chat with them. Then you can see if you need to make things easier for them at work. You will find that managing sickness absence will help you keep track of employees and to figure out when things may be going wrong.


You need to be able to know when to manage other people and when to get on with your own work. When it is time to do your own stuff, focus is a very important skill to have. You will find that there are many distractions in your office. These can range from noisy coworkers to people continually asking you questions. You need to be able to filter all this so you can get your work done. Otherwise, all your employees might end up working harder than you! And that won’t do office morale any good.

Know What Won’t Work

Don’t beat yourself up if you start a strategy or project that doesn’t get seen all the way through. Nothing is guaranteed to work, and you have to understand that not everything you try will be a success. Once you realize that something isn’t working as you expected, leave it and move on. It’s time to think of a new strategy. Once you know what doesn’t work, stay away from those methods and concentrate on what does. Don’t just try and stick with something to try and save face!

Getting a promotion to a management position will certainly do wonders for your career. Just don’t forget about these all-important managerial skills and qualities. It could be the end of your new position!

Continue Reading

Working From Home: How To Improve Your Office and Working Space

A lot of people start out with a business right from their front room. The ideas and the brand are all thought up in the comfort of their own home. Then the business begins, and they will quite often, be working from themselves at home. This is great for a while, but is it the best thing? It can make costs of the business relatively low when there isn’t another mortgage or rent on an office to pay for each month. As the business develops, though, there might be need to expand. Again; it does all come down to money. So for a while, continuing work from home might be the most viable option. You could definitely put in some plans to improve your home, to make the workspace more fit for purpose.

First of all, you could just revamp the office space that you have. The colour that the office is can greatly impact productivity. For example, a room that is painted in yellow hues is meant to promote productivity and alertness. A room that is in blue tones could help creativity. Colours like red and pink should be avoided, though. These can give off feelings of irritation and anger. Not always the things that you want when you are trying to get a business off the ground! You could revamp a room that you already have with some of the decor and accessories. Having a room with high ceilings and mirrors on the wall can help to create a large and airy space. This can make for a perfect office environment.

If you are thinking about extending, then you need to check the plans with your local council first. As it is for a business, there are some permissions and planning permissions that you will need to get. So once that it all sorted, you can get planning and get started. An extension will quite often need aluminum scaffolding tower hire as well as things like skips. So it all needs to be factored into the cost and budget. There are plenty of ways that you can change things up, though. You want to be most productive when working, but also most cost effective. So I hope these tips will be helpful if you aren’t quite at the stage of moving to an office building just yet.

If the space feels too small, it can hinder how effectively you work. So extending might be an option. If you are able to, then knocking down a wall, through to a bedroom in the home would be a good idea. If the bedroom is not being used, then creating a larger working space would be great. However, this isn’t always a possible thing. If that is the case, then it might be better to extend outwards. Building an extension, even if it was just one floor, could make the world of difference when it comes to working and living in the same space. One or two extra rooms or just larger rooms will create better storage space. It will also create room for more staff if needed, as well as allow you to set up stations for different things. If your work is spread out more, you can be more organised and productive.

Continue Reading

Eating And Drinking Right To Cope With A Busy Work Life

A working day is usually long, often tiring and always challenging. When you pile one day on top of another, getting to the weekend always feels like a victory of sorts. Some days, just getting to home time seems like a battle won. One thing for certain is that if you want to make it through the day, you need all the help you can get. I don’t mean from your co-workers, although that’s nice. I mean from eating and drinking.

In The Morning: Energy And Awakeness

You’ll see no shortage of articles around which talk about “How To Be A Morning Person“. They are aimed at the kind of person who wakes up feeling like they need at least two more hours’ sleep, the night owl. Truth is, if you’re not a morning person, you’re just not. However, that’s when work starts, so make the best of it. Good, strong coffee and a breakfast with protein will get you somewhere close to conscious. Plaster on a smile and head out the door!

Mid-Morning: Still Hanging In There?

Fruit and Nutrition - Eating Healthy - Nutrition Label

After a few hours, the familiar feeling descends as you remember you are as far away from lunch as you are from breakfast. You’re supposed to be working, but your mind is inventing sandwiches you’d really like. This is the correct time to deploy the banana! Or any other healthy snack, the point is to keep your blood sugar up. Pair it with a herbal tea at this point. Too much caffeine will make you jittery.

Lunchtime: Get Yourself Ready For The Second Half

Having had a protein-based breakfast, lunch is the meal that needs to be more of an all-rounder. Some protein isn’t a bad idea, certainly, but what you need is balance. Get some iron in the mix too, as you’ll need this to avoid a crash in the afternoon.


A tortilla or salad, with an iron-rich leaf like swiss chard and filled with roast beef (for carnivores) or lentil dahl for veggies. Try to avoid anything fizzy to drink here – water or fruit juice is best. And although there is still a fashion to have wine, beer or cocktails with lunch, forget it. You’ll feel like death by home time.

Mid-Afternoon: Rounding The Final Bend


Pretty much everybody is a clock-watcher in the last few hours of the working day. There’s no getting away from it, we are all mentally in the car on the way home, or at least trying to beat the traffic. Your mind wanders. You need coffee. It’s a good idea to have access to some espresso gear right about now, for a perk-up. Allow yourself some dark chocolate, or some nuts, at this point as they are good for concentration. You’re nearly there!

The general working day is busy, can be rushed and makes you change plans on a regular basis. Coming prepared and being able to roll with the changes is important. The more you stick to a smart eating plan, the more natural it will become to you. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to your day, and your week, when you’re equipping yourself for the battle.

Continue Reading

Workplace Fun: A Short Guide to Office Productivity


There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a room filled with a dreary atmosphere. The mind finds it harder to concentrate and more effort has to be made to make the creative juices flow.

According to research, employees find that being surrounded by dullness decreases their productivity. It’s a common problem that often gets overlooked. After all, most business are more concerned about making money rather than making their workers happy.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a professional office. Injecting a little excitement into a space however, will not affect that in any way.

One of the most common mistakes that employers make, is not giving the layout of their office enough thought.

Sometimes all it takes is a little rearranging to create a space your employees will be happy to inhabit.

Creating a productive space



When thinking of productive spaces, we often think of things that are rather dull and boring. This is due to the fact that we are used to seeing those things constantly.

Just because something’s popular, doesn’t make it the right option. Sure, a clean and tidy space is always good, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and exciting.

Playing around with colours can be a fantastic way of transforming a space. White walls can get a little boring to look at. Bold colours, such as orange or blue, can stimulate the brain a little more.

Productivity can be improved by creating an office that makes your employees excited. After all, it’s much better to be happy rather than dread every minute of your day.

Fun with Furniture



Furniture doesn’t have to be uniform. Not every office on the planet needs to feature the same old chairs.

Due to the fact that we have been exposed to that image for years, it’s harder for us to envision a space that is different.

When designing your office, try to think outside the box. Does the chair really need to be black? Are you really that impressed with a white desk? Sometimes adding a little splash of colour can make all the difference in the world.
When it comes to decorating the space – be creative. Hanging an old painting that has nothing to do with the business, is a common mistake. Just because it’s “art” doesn’t mean it has a place in your office.

Again, try thinking outside the box and make it fun and imaginative. Why not get you logo made in the form of a neon sign. Companies like A1 Designs specialise in that. If you’d rather be less flashy, get some stickers with your logo printed off and put them on your walls. There many companies, like Discount Sticker Printing, that specialise in such items. It’s all about being creative and finding the right resources.

Don’t let your office drag you down. There’s no reason why a space can’t be professional yet fun at the same time. All it takes is a little imagination, some effort and a solid plan. Help your employees get better results by ensuring they are happy.

Continue Reading

Netting that Professional Goal

Netting that Professional Goal

We all want to feel a sense of progress in our professional lives, and outlining specific goals can be a helpful way to keep forward momentum. Unfortunately, outlining and achieving are two different thing.

Sometimes being genuinely good at your job just isn’t enough to get noticed. Basic unwritten rules could be holding you back, so read on for practical solutions, from knowing how often you should wash a bra to gift-giving etiquette.

Dress to impress

It’s a common maxim to ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have,’ but it’s one that bears repeating, especially for women. It’s easy to shrug into the same well-worn outfit every workday, but less than impressive at important meetings. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for start-up funding, or at a multinational seeking promotion, dressing to impress pays … literally.

A useful tip is to emulate the people you look up to, and who already have the role you’d like to achieve; although office wear in many workplaces is more casual now than it’s ever been, looking professional is always important. Think about creating a polished look, which includes crisp shirts. To get the effect without the hassle of ironing, just hang your shirt on a coat hanger in the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam will make the creases drop out, without a drop of effort!

Also important are well-fitting bras, which can quickly lose their elastic and shape with too much washing. But how often should you wash a bra? For most people, aiming for a wash after every two to three wears is sufficient. You should use a cool temperatures alongside a mild detergent that’s kind to silks and lace and wash sports bras more regularly (as they are expected to see more wear).

Use this guide on how often should you wash a bra if you’re still uncertain.

The unwritten rules

When looking to make an impression professionally, it’s important to abide by an unwritten code of conduct. Here are three useful rules of thumb when it comes to gifting:

  1. Presenting close coworkers with gifts on a special occasion is totally appropriate, while you’ll often be expected to buy gifts for clients on behalf of your company. In some places, buying a gift for your boss is frowned upon, so be sure to check!
  2. If you do decide to give a gift, make sure it’s restrained and not too personal; think a potted succulent or chocolate selection – something nice but not too intrusive.
  3. If gifting to commemorate a particular festival, make sure your intended recipient actually celebrates it; whether that’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Eid, or any other holiday.

Another important and generally unwritten rule is how much time you’re expected to spend working every day. This pressure might come from a demanding client who expects you to answer every email they send at 10pm, or from a culture of working late at your office. As long as you’re getting your job done, it shouldn’t matter when you leave.

Ultimately, you’re the one responsible for finding your own work/life balance, and there’s no shame in making changes if something isn’t right for you. Hopefully, these tips will help you work towards your professional goals while getting in some much-needed downtime too!

Continue Reading