Recruitment fraud

Recruitment fraud affects not only job applicants, it can also impact your business.

A particular target as reported by the BBC has been LinkedIn although it is not by any means the only victim.

Primarily targeted at applicants it offered what turned out to be fake job interviews.

The scams work by firstly posting a job then requesting the job seeker click on a link to another website, where they require you to download something and log in and give personal details.

“Another frequent scam is to ask “successful” job applicants to hand over money upfront, with a promise that they’ll be paid back – commonly known as an advance fee scam.”

However, the report says: “LinkedIn says that 99.3% of detected spam and scams are caught by its automated defences, and that 99.6% of detected fake accounts are blocked before members even report them.”

It has introduced a series of new safety features. These include: “About this profile”, which shows when a profile was created and last updated, along with whether the member has a verified a phone number or work email associated with their account.

While obviously jobseekers are advised to be wary of scams, businesses too should be alert to the possibility.


Has the technological revolution improved productivity?

Despite the hype there is apparently very little evidence of improved productivity, according to the BBC.

“Between 1974 and 2008 the UK’s productivity – the amount of output you get per worker – grew at an annual rate of 2.3%. But between 2008 and 2020 the rate of productivity growth collapsed to around 0.5% per annum.”

One of the explanations is that people are getting side tracked into messaging friends on Whatsapp, watching videos on YouTube, arguing angrily on Twitter rather than concentrating on work.

But there are other explanations, one being that we are “not measuring the impact of technology properly. The second is that economic revolutions tend to be rather slow-burning affairs”.

One professor at the University of Cambridge argues that data isn’t collected in ways that would help with understanding and measuring productivity.

She gives the example of a business that has dispensed with in-house technical staff and moved to outsourcing and therefore on paper this business looks smaller.

Other academics argue that when we look back to previous industrial revolutions we telescope the time their innovations took to have an effect.

The conclusion is “The technology is seemingly not the problem, and in some respects it is not the solution either. High productivity growth will come only to those that learn how to use it best.”

You can read the full article here:


AI and your business

Job posts mentioning AI or generative AI have, globally, more than doubled in the past two years, according to a report by LinkedIn.

However, AI skills may be in demand but the supply of those AI capable is still lagging.

According to Ngaire Moyes, UK country manager at LinkedIn, AI can “help remove the drudgery from day-to-day work, improve productivity and free-up time for more strategic and creative work”.

This could be crucial to smaller businesses.

Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to AI, not least that AI needs to be personalised to be effective.

It is also important to be aware of the risk of legal and security breaches.

As one HR expert at the Cranfield Institute puts it: “AI systems are only as good as the data that they are based on”.

So while AI may well be a crucial tool for business in the future, proper training is going to be essential.

To improve AI skills you can experiment with many of the free versions of the tools available online.

Look for online courses in AI, but ensure they are tailored to your requirements.

Above all, managers and employers need to be clear about why they want to use AI. It is not only about efficiency but about improving things in a way that benefits the humans in your business.

Cyber Security

Businesses cannot ignore the risks of Cyber Crime

Earlier this year the government published new guidelines to help businesses to protect themselves from the risk of cybercrime, which can cost them millions.

It argued that cyber threats should be prioritised as a key business risk like financial and legal challenges and should be put on an equal footing with other threats like financial and legal pitfalls.

Businesses should ensure that they have detailed plans in place to respond to and recover from any potential cyber incidents.

They should also regularly test their plans’ resilience, include forma\l mechanisms for reporting incidents and should also ensure employees have adequate skills and awareness of cyber issues so they can work alongside new technologies in confidence.

Figures show almost one in three (32%) firms have suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past year,

Lindy Cameron, National Cyber Security Centre CEO, said: “Cyber security is no longer a niche subject or just the responsibility of the IT department, so it is vital that CEOs and directors understand the risks to their organisation and how to mitigate potential threats.”

Basic protections every business should have include:

  • boundary firewalls and internet gateways — establish network perimeter defences, particularly web proxy, web filtering, co ntent checking, and firewall policies to detect and block executable downloads, block access to known malicious domains and prevent users’ computers from communicating directly with the Internet
  • malware protection — establish and maintain malware defences to detect and respond to known attack code
  • patch management — patch known vulnerabilities with the latest version of the software, to prevent attacks which exploit software bugs
  • allow listing and execution control — prevent unknown software from being able to run or install itself, including AutoRun on USB and CD drives
  • secure configuration — restrict the functionality of every device, operating system and application to the minimum needed for business to function
  • password policy — ensure that an appropriate password policy is in place and followed
  • user access control — include limiting normal users’ execution permissions and enforcing the principle of least privilege

Cheap tablet deals for March

Are you in the market for a new tablet?

If you’re not yet a convert to tablets they are often lighter, thinner and generally more portable and convenient than a laptop,

They come with a wide range of screen sizes and features and some include detachable keyboards.

The Independent has published information on the best deals this month.

They are:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: Was £259, now £164,
  • Apple iPad, 10th gen, 2022: Was £499, now £379,
  • Apple iPad 9th gen, 2021: Was £369, now £319,
  • Apple iPad Pro, 2022: Was £899, now £824.98,
  • Microsoft Surface Go 3: Was £799, now £699,
  • Apple iPad Mini, 2021: Was £569, now £540,

There’s more information here:


What does a unicorn have to do with your small business?

A unicorn is the title given to private start-up firms that are valued at more than a billion dollars.

In 2021 36 unicorns were formed in the UK, but in 2022 there were 20, according to Dealroom, which tracks the start-up sector.

One of the reasons for the apparent reduction is the difficult economic environment, including rising interest rates, which has meant that fewer venture capital firms have been willing to take the risk.

If you have been contemplating becoming a unicorn advisors suggest you should do three things:

  1. Have a vision that is documented and communicated regularly to the company’s employees, partners, clients and investors.
  2. The technology should not be a solution looking for a problem. Instead it should be a solution that has come from understanding a problem in depth.
  3. Have the agility within the business to overcome challenges that are out of an entrepreneurs’ control, such as Brexit and the pandemic.

So would-be unicorns out there take note.


If you’re planning to use AI in your business, be careful

Artificial intelligence is set to affect nearly 40% of all jobs, according to a new analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While that might sound like good news in terms of reducing your overheads, particularly payroll costs, there is a downside to using AI.

The IMF warns “The technology is facing increased regulation around the world. Last month, European Union officials reached a provisional deal on the world’s first comprehensive laws to regulate the use of AI.”

Generative AI is, put simply, AI that can quickly create new content, be it words, images, music or videos. And it can take an idea from one example, and apply it to an entirely different situation.

This has already led to court cases for copyright infringement as it is not possible to establish where the information generated has come from, usually multiple sources.

Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, says: “regulation and legal battles might cool off the current mania for generative AI.”


Beware new legislation if your business depends on online reviews and sales

As part of the digital markets, competition and consumers bill currently progressing through parliament, fake reviews and unavoidable hidden online charges – which cost consumers £2.2bn a year – are to be banned.

In future mandatory fees must be included in the headline price or at the start of the shopping process, including booking fees for cinema and train tickets.

According to a Guardian report: “drip pricing, where consumers are shown an initial cost only to find unavoidable fees added later, is widespread.

“More than half of entertainment providers, 56% of the hospitality industry, and 72% of the transport and communication sectors use the practice, according to the government.”

Which? also reports that “fake reviews on sites such as Amazon, Google and Trustpilot are still thriving on Facebook.

While it welcomed the announcement Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Further action may be needed to tackle the range of sneaky pricing tactics used to bump up the advertised price in areas like flight bookings.”


Merry Christmas

To all our customers

We wish you all

A very happy Christmas and New Year

With time to catch up with friends and family and relax

AI & Cyber Security

AI & Cyber Security

According to a survey by PWC 37% of the 3,900 companies they asked were worried that they were “highly or extremely exposed to cyber risks”.

While three fifths saw AI as a positive cyber and digital risks were top-of-mind in 2023, with those leaders responsible for managing risk ranking cyber higher than inflation.

More than ever, this emphasises the need for robust processes in business to guard against hacking and other cyber security risks.

This means ensuring that only those who need it have access to sensitive data.

It also means having a robust password system including regular changes and two factor authentication.

Plus, it is wise to ensure that all employees are trained to be security aware online and are kept regularly updated as new threats emerge.