Exchequer Software Grants Exchequer Software has launched a grants scheme for SMEs wishing to invest in the company’s Exchequer Enterprise business and accounting software. The grants, worth £250,000, will essentially take the form of discounts on the company’s software and will be made available to new customers over the next twelve months. www.exchequer.com Ricoh MFD Enhancements Ricoh’s entry level monochrome MFDs can now be expanded just as easily as the company’s high end models. The company recently announced that it will include its GW Architecture technology in all new models across its range of multi-function devices, right down to the humble 15 page per minute Aficio 2015. GW Architecture allows expansion modules to be plugged into the devices adding new[…]

A report from the Disability Rights Commission (www.drc-gb.org) has slammed British web sites for ignoring accessibility standards and warns that the DRC will take legal action against those who fail to make improvements. The report highlights the findings of a formal investigation into web accessibility and concludes that over 80 per cent of sites failed to comply with even the most basic of accessibility practices. The report blames lack of interest and knowledge on the part of site developers. Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995, British businesses are legally obliged to ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled customers and prospective employees. Businesses with under 15 employees were previously exempt from DDA compliance, but the exemption will[…]

Small businesses which lack in-house human resources expertise are routinely running the gauntlet of complicated employment laws and exposing themselves to the risk of heavy penalties, including fines and imprisonment. According to HR outsourcing firm, Vizual Human Resources (www.vizualhr.com), employees are becoming increasingly aware of employment law while stretched company directors struggle to keep abreast of the legal landscape. These sentiments echoed those in a recent report from the Institute of Directors (www.iod.com) which fingered increasingly complex employment legislation as the main source of red-tape for UK businesses. According to the report more than 82% of business leaders surveyed said that HR issues such as employment tribunals and maternity arrangements presented a serious distraction to their central task of running[…]

Broadband Internet supplier, NTL Business (http://business.ntl.com), has unveiled a range of Virtual Private Network products for the small business market under the brand name Broadband Power. For businesses that operate offices in separate locations, VPNs provide a way of linking all employees to the same network so that they can access the same files and applications. The technology can be used to link separate offices as well as employees working from home. Commenting on the launch, Nigel Lee – Product Manager at NTL said “We wanted to ensure that we had a full range of VPN products to suit all needs, previously we had packages for large corporates but nothing for smaller businesses. This offering is more appropriate for SMEs[…]

Getting your laptop hooked up to the Internet while you’re away from the office has never been quite as simple as it should. It’s not so bad if you’re somewhere where you set up a dial-up connection but this is a far from perfect solution, ideally people should simply be able to get online wherever and whenever they want. Vodafone’s 3G datacard promises to deliver the closest thing to that ideal that the current technology will allow. The card allows a laptop to connect to the Internet via Vodafone’s 3G network with a maximum download speed of 384kbps – not quite as fast as a typical broadband connection, but not far off it. The company’s 3G coverage is growing, but[…]

RAF Strike Command, the organisation responsible for coordinating the activities of all the UK’s military aircraft from fighters to transporters, has adopted ‘brainstorming’ software to help plan its operations. MindManager from MindJet (www.mindjet.co.uk) is described as a visual brainstorming and planning tool used as a digital alternative to whiteboards, flipcharts and notepads. Squadron Leader Mark Brown said “MindManager enables us to build concise visual ‘maps’ of our operational planning information, thus ‘focusing’ the initial stages of our work.” The software brings together notes and ideas prepared on PCs and handhelds and allows them to be organised into visual maps which can then be exported into a variety of formats such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, web pages and so forth.[…]

The humble lamp-post could soon become the key component in a high-bandwidth wireless network stretching the length and breadth of the UK. The Highways Agency needs a new voice and data network for its traffic control systems, because the present copper and fibre-optic network which runs along most of the country’s motorways is becoming overloaded. The National Roads Telecommunications Services project was launched in order to find a suitable replacement, with the contract due to be awarded in autumn of this year. In addition to providing a suitable communications network for police control centres, cctv cameras, roadside equipment and so on, one of the other stated aims of the project is to is to make effective use of the networks[…]

According to a report from Internet security firm Symantec (www.symantec.com), the second half of last year saw a dramatic increase in the threat to business confidentiality posed by computer viruses. The company’s latest Internet Security Threat Report states that the period of July to December 2003 saw a 148% increase (compared to previous year) in malicious code capable of breaching company security using a variety of methods. The report highlights the rapid growth of ‘blended threats’ which combine the characteristics of different type of virus along with exploitation of known software security flaws. Attackers can exploit known security vulnerabilities to introduce malicious software into company networks, and once inside the software can obtain login details and passwords – often by[…]