The timing couldn’t have been better, no sooner had the Information Security 2004 exhibition got underway than the newswires began reporting on a fast spreading new virus wreaking havoc on the Internet. At a time when the security vendors were conducting something of a PR blitz, the Sasser virus appeared right on cue to help them hammer home the message. Exploiting a vulnerability in un-patched versions of Windows the virus was able to quickly infect systems around the world and even managed to knock out non-critical computers the UK Coastguard office.Theories circulating in the press lounge speculated that the virus had been timed specifically to coincide with the exhibition by virus writers out to prove a point, or perhaps by[…]

Figures from the Institute of Directors’ (www.iod.com) latest Business Opinion Survey suggest that business confidence in the UK is at its highest levels in four years. The survey, which covers the second quarter of 2004 indicates that IoD members who are more, rather than less, optimistic about their companies’ prospects rose to 46 per cent compared to 38 per cent in the previous quarter’s survey. When asked whether they felt their companies were performing well, 71 per cent of directors said they were, up from 62 per cent previously. IoD chief economist Graeme Leech said “Business optimism and performance continue to improve and this should feed through into continued employment growth. Around half our members expect employment in their company[…]

Research carried out on behalf of microchip manufacturer, Intel, by the Economist Intelligence Unit has shown that workers in Europe and the Middle East are increasingly working away from the office. The survey covered 600 business workers in 10 countries. On average respondents said they currently spend 33 per cent of the day working away from the office and saw this figure rising to 42 per cent over the next two years. The survey highlights an increasing trend towards flexible working practices, with nearly three quarters of workers claiming to be just as comfortable working remotely as they would be in the office. While 49 per cent said they were equally as productive away from the office, 19 per cent[…]

The Health and Safety Executive has warned businesses to be wary of bogus organisations posing as official health and safety regulators. The HSE (www.hse.gov.uk) said it had received complaints about three companies from the north west of England which are contacting businesses around the country and telling them that they need to pay up to #250 for health and safety registration, and charging hundreds of pounds for health and safety compliance packs. The companies all have pseudo-official names, such as the Health and Safety Registration Enforcement Division or the Health and Safety Compliance Agency, but are not in any way associated with the real Health and Safety Executive. Justin McCracken, HSE’s Deputy Directory General, said: “None of these companies is[…]

A slew of reports this month painted a rosy picture of Broadband Britain, highlighting the positive effects high speed internet access has already had on UK business and underlining the optimism amongst those still wanting to upgrade. A report on the state of rural broadband availability in the 30 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development states that Britain is leading the way in broadband availability with 95 per cent national coverage expected by 2005. This puts the UK firmly ahead of most industrialised nations, with Belgium Denmark and Switzerland being the only countries to offer higher coverage. According to a survey of 400 companies carried out by broadband provider NTL, 56 per cent of the UK’s[…]

Printer specialist TallyGenicom has unveiled a new rent-free printer scheme which will allow businesses to benefit from a free colour laser for three years. The scheme requires that participating companies buy at least one of the toner packs per year at #299 as well as an initial start-up pack. The scheme will provide free on-site maintenance and allow customers to upgrade or return the printer when required. www.tally.co.uk Photocopier industry analysts Infosource recently released figures showing that Ricoh has am 855 recently released figures showing that Ricoh has a massive 85 per cent market share of the colour capable copier market. Ricoh said that is now shipping more than 500 colour devices every month in the UK market. www.ricoh.co.uk French[…]

Director general of the Confederation of British Industry (www.cbi.org.uk), Sir Digby Jones has told the major political parties that they need to pay attention to the needs of business in their election manifestos. Jones cited transport and education as the two key areas currently of highest concern for UK businesses. In a recent CBI public services survey of over 400 companies, 94 per cent said that transport was the most important service affecting competitiveness, but 89 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the reform of public transport. The CBI wants the government to commit to at least £300 billion of public and private investment in the transport infrastructure over the next decade and is asking politicians to lay out[…]

According to new research from the Department of Trade and Industry, more employees are becoming aware of their right to request flexible working conditions. According to the DTI’s second Felxible Working Employee Survey 2005, 65 per cent of the 3,222 workers quizzed knew that their bosses had a duty to consider requests for part time or flexible working hours, compared with 41 per cent in 2003. The number of workers asking for some sort of work flexibility over the past two years is 14 per cent of the overall workforce, although almost 25 per cent of workers with young children made such a request. The survey found that employers accepted 81 per cent of requests, up slightly on the 77[…]

Soon the humble document scanner will be elevated to a central role in office procedures, if eCopy gets its way. At the eCopy Paper Connection Forum in Miami this month the company announced a range of new products and partnerships aimed at enabling businesses to take control of an ever growing mountain of paper documents. The company, announced deals with Canon, Fujitsu, HP, Oce, Ricoh, Sharp and Toshiba to support their scanner and MFP products in version 3.0 of its ShareScan and ScanStation systems. The company expects ShareScan to become the de facto industry wide standard software that allows scanned documents to be automatically sent to common business applications, such as email, online archive systems or content management software. Tim[…]

The government has announced changes to the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme which, it claims, will offer better targeted and more generous financial support for small businesses. A recent review of the scheme has yielded several recommendations which include expanding the lending limits to #250,000 per business and raising the maximum turnover limit for eligible companies to #5.6 million. The new rules will also tighten the focus of the scheme onto younger businesses by imposing a maximum age limit of three years trading activity on eligible companies. Also, the loan limit of #250,000 per individual will be lifted to help successful serial entrepreneurs. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said “Small businesses are the lifeblood for our economy – boosting[…]