Data Protection Trust Levels Still Low After GDPR

A report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has shown that as 42% of consumers have received communications from businesses they had not given permission to contact them (since GDPR came into force), this could be a key reason why consumer trust in businesses is still at a low level.

Not Much Difference

The CIM report shows that only 24% of respondents believe that businesses treat people’s personal data in an honest and transparent way.  This is only slightly higher than the 18% who believed the same thing when GDPR took effect 6 months ago.

Young More Trusting

The report appears to indicate that although trust levels are generally low, younger people trust businesses more with their data.  For example, the report shows that 33% of 18-24 and 34% of 24-35 year olds trust businesses with their data, compared with only 17% of over 55s.

More Empowered But Lacking Knowledge About Rights

Consumers appear to feel more empowered by GDPR to act if they feel that organisations are not serving them with the right communications.  For example, the report showed that rather than just continuing to receive and ignoring communications from a company, 50% of those surveyed said that GDPR has motivated them to not consciously opt-in to begin with, or if opted in, make them more likely to subscribe.

This feeling of empowerment was also illustrated back in August in a report based on a study by business intelligence and data management firm SAS.  The SAS study showed that more than half of UK consumers (55%) looked likely to exercise their new GDPR rights within the first year of GDPR’s introduction.

Unfortunately, even though many people feel more empowered by GDPR, there still appears to be a lack of knowledge about exactly what rights GDPR has bestowed upon us. For example, the report shows that only 47% of respondents said they know their rights as a consumer in relation to data protection.  This figure has only increased by 5% (from 43%) since the run-up to GDPR.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The need to comply with the law and avoid stiff penalties, and the opportunity to put the data house in order meant that the vast majority of UK companies have taken their GDPR responsibilities seriously, and are likely to be well versed in the rights and responsibilities around it (and have an in-house ‘expert’). Unfortunately, there are always a few companies / organisations that ignore the law and continue contacting people.  The ICO has made clear examples e.g. back in October Manchester-based Oaklands Assist UK Ltd was fined £150,000 by the ICO for making approximately 64,000 nuisance direct marketing calls to people who had already opted out of automated marketing.  This is one example of a company being held accountable, but it is clear from the CIM’s research that many consumers still don’t trust businesses with their data, particularly when they hear about data breaches / data sharing on the news (e.g. Facebook), or continue to have their own experiences of unsolicited communications.

It may be, as identified by the CIM, that even though GDPR has empowered consumers to ask the right questions about their data use, marketers now need to answer these, and to prove to consumers how data collection can actually benefit them e.g. in helping to deliver relevant and personalised information.

The apparent lack of a major impact of GDPR on public trust could also indicate the need for an ongoing campaign to drive more awareness and understanding across all UK businesses.

Business Concerns Over ‘Secondary Data’

A study by data protection and management company ‘Cohesity’ has shown that most companies store up to 10 copies of their ‘secondary data’ in different locations and must use multiple products to manage it.

The Problem With Secondary Data

Secondary data (not production data) e.g. all the data that a company collects from other sources such as reports, stats, information from trade / industry publications etc tends to be stored by businesses over time in the hope that it has / will have value to the business, could help the business to avoid problems, and could reveal more business opportunities with analysis. One main problem with the storing of secondary data, which has long been known about, is that it is often fragmented and / or trapped e.g. it is stored across many clouds, remote offices / edge locations, and / or is trapped inside a siloed infrastructure. This can result in problems such as the cost, complication and confusion of duplicated copies stored in different places and using resources to maintain and store data that may not be serving the current needs of the digital business, or adding value because of how it is stored.

The Research

Not surprisingly, the research by Cohesity, a company that offers platforms where all secondary data can be stored, appears to back up the fact that companies have a problem with secondary data fragmentation.  For example, the results of the survey, which drew upon responses from 250 UK IT decision-makers as part of a wider study involving 650 IT decision-makers in the US, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, found that most UK organisations store up to 10 copies of the same secondary data, use four or five different products to manage it, and keep it in up to four locations. These locations may include two or three different public cloud storage providers.

The research showed that the average number of copies of the same datasets of secondary data held by UK respondents is five, and that around 30% of IT teams’ time is spent managing secondary data.

Why?

The research findings indicated that 92.5% of UK respondents store multiple copies of production data in separate locations because their disaster recovery (DR) policies say they must, but when it comes to the reasons for storing so much secondary data, the findings are less clear.

The research findings do, however, show that there has been a big increase in secondary storage data volumes e.g. in 2016 to 2017 the UK average is was 38.5% rise.  This trend is also predicted to continue.

Redundant Copies In The Cloud

The research findings show that 41% of UK organisations replicate redundant copies of data held in one public cloud to another public cloud.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Many UK businesses appear to be storing increasing amounts of secondary data in a fragmented way with no clear plan on the horizon about what to do with it all.  Instead of being able to organise the data and use it to generate value and competitive advantages, many businesses are wasting money and resources in keeping often duplicated data stored in limbo across disparate locations.

Businesses may be able to save themselves money and turn the secondary data burden into a value-generating asset by switching to a secure, paid-for consolidated platform solution.  This could help solve the current fragmentation problems, free-up resources, could help businesses to start using the data productively, and help businesses to find an effective way of managing what looks likely to be an increasing amount of secondary data going forward.

Environmentally Responsible Blockchain

At its conference in Barcelona, VMware (tech subsidiary of Dell Technologies and CO2 emission-reducing evangelist) has announced that it has introduced a beta version of blockchain-as-a-service.

Part of VMware Tools

According to VMware, the new blockchain-as-a-service product will be integrated into existing VMware tools and will provide permissioned blockchain for enterprise consortiums, which will be more secure than public blockchains.

What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain, the open-source, free technology behind crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, is an incorruptible peer-to-peer network (a kind of ledger) that allows multiple parties to transfer value in a secure and transparent way. Blockchain’s Co-Founder Nic Carey describes blockchain as being like “a big spreadsheet in the cloud that anyone can use, but no one can erase or modify”.

Why Blockchain-as-a-Service?

The BaaS market is likely to take off in a much bigger way because it offers enterprises the chance to deploy distributed ledgers without the cost or risk of deploying it in-house, and without needing to find in-house developers.

VMware has highlighted a need by financial customers to use a version of blockchain in a commercial environment that is secure and can be audited, and the way in which a blockchain service could be a way for organisations to run distributed ledgers efficiently.

VMware believes that the decentralised trust, enterprise-grade scalability, reliability, security and manageability, with the ability to deploy nodes across multiple cloud environments, (including on-premise) and a single management interface with enterprise monitoring and auditing tools will make its blockchain-as-a-service product attractive to businesses.

Why Environmentally Responsible?

VMware’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has described the computational complexity of blockchain as being an “environmental crisis”, and the company is keen to point out that the virtualisation and server consolidation that VMware offers has reduced hundreds of tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Not The Only One

VMware is certainly not the only company in the race to get a blockchain-as-a-service product out to businesses. Microsoft was one of the first software vendors to offer BaaS on its Azure cloud platform as far back as 2015, and tech commentators have noted that Microsoft and many of the other big tech companies, including Amazon and Oracle, are now looking to make the most of the growing blockchain as a service (BaaS) market.

Real-World Blockchain Examples

The benefits of blockchain technology are already being in enjoyed by many companies, and some of the ways that it is currently being deployed include:

  • Walmart’s pilots where the time it takes to trace a food item from shop to farm was reduced, through the use of blockchain, from 7 days to just 2.2 seconds.
  • A pilot project between car-maker BMW and start-up Circulor with a view to eliminating battery minerals produced using child labour. In that project, blockchain is being used to help provide a way to prove that artisanal miners are not using child labour in their cobalt mining activities.
  • Using the data on a blockchain ledger to record the temperature of sensitive medicines being transported from manufacturer to hospital in hot climates. The ‘incorruptible’ aspect of the blockchain data gives a clear record of care and responsibility along the whole supply chain.
  • Using an IBM-based blockchain ledger to record data about wine certification, ownership and storage history. This has helped to combat fraud in the industry and has provided provenance and re-assurance to buyers.
  • Shipping Company Maersk using a blockchain-based system for tracking consignments that addresses visibility and efficiency i.e. digitising a formerly paper-based process that involved multiple interactions.
  • Start-up company ‘Electron’ building a blockchain-based system for sharing information between those involved in supplying energy which could speed up and simplify the supplier switching process. It may also be used for smart grid processes, such as local load-balancing of supply and demand.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

VMware is one of many big tech names that now want to make the most of a BaaS market, although VMware’s (currently beta) offering is targeted at enterprises in regulated industries. VMware has plenty of powerful support in this venture in the shape of partnering with Dell Technologies, Deloitte and WWT as well as having the advantage of IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions supporting VMware Blockchain.

Blockchain is growing in popularity as companies are able to see real examples of how it can be used save time and costs, provide fast and secure traceability, visibility and efficiency, and provide a real competitive advantage.

New App-Based Banking Platform For SMEs From NatWest

NatWest bank is reported to be testing a new app-based banking platform called ‘Mettle’ that combines banking with other business services, and is specifically aimed at the needs of SMEs.

Mettle – Independent From NatWest Bank

Mettle is the first standalone banking app to be launched by one of the UK’s big retail banking brands, and is described by Mettle as a “forward-looking business current account”.

The new SME-focused banking platform is to be run independently from NatWest, is not a bank but operates as an agent under an e-money licence held by PrePay Solutions, and is being developed in partnership with 11:FS and Capco.

The pilot of the new mobile-app based Mettle service has been rolled out to between 100 and 150 existing and new customers, and their feedback will be taken into account before a general roll-out to the public.

Why?

According to Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, the premise for the Mettle banking app is that it will provide customers with data they can use to make business decisions and to let “customers focus on forward-looking finances, combining technology and proactive insights so that SMEs can make better decisions and run their businesses more successfully”.

Other reasons for introducing Mettle are that:

  • Greater awareness of and trust in fintech (financial technology) in the market place, and rapidly advancing technology and a trend towards ‘mobile everything’ mean that traditional banks need to adapt to more customer-focused services, and feel that they can now diversify their offerings.
  • Large banks such as NatWest need to head-off the threat of fast-growing challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut.

About Mettle

Apart from the obvious convenience aspect of being able to use a mobile banking app, some of the key features that could make Mettle popular among SMEs are:

  • The account is free and fast to open, and can be operated just using a mobile app and a debit card.
  • Receipts can be added to customer transactions and expenses can be tracked straight from the phone.
  • Customers can lock and unlock their card from their phone with a single tap.
  • It offers other business tools to help SMEs stay on top of a current account.
  • It offers SMEs a maximum balance of £50,000 and a maximum pay out of £10,000.
  • Mettle has the backing of a big banking brand.

Limitations (many of which may be temporary due to it being at the pilot stage) include that Mettle:

  • Offers no overdrafts or interest.
  • Limits cash withdrawals to £500 a day and £4,000 a month.
  • Is currently by invitation only (after interest has been registered online).

How To Open A Mettle Account

At the moment, opening a Mettle account involves going to www.mettle.co.uk, clicking on “register your interest” and entering your email when prompted. After this, Mettle will email you a list of questions to understand the nature of your business, and will let you know whether you can be part of the first group of users with early access.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

If you’re an SME, this kind of account could provide a much faster and more convenient way of operating and staying on top of your finances, and it has been designed specifically with the needs of SMEs in mind. It also offers other helpful business insights that a simple bank current account doesn’t and, therefore, could help SME business decision-making.

For the big banks, app-based systems enable them to keep up with consumer trends and needs, aid customer retention and with the attraction of new customers, and fight-off competition from the other big banks and fast-growing challenger banks.

Office365 Credentials

You have a set of Office365 credentials which permit you access to the services.

IMPORTANT : You need to know these and be able to use them on the portal

( http://portal.office.com )

They consist of a username and a password.

 

 

 

 

Your tenancy name is appended to “onmicrosoft.com” as the full reference and we try and combine this with your first and last names to make your username.

So, for Fred Bloggs at Acme Corp the username would be FredBloggs@acme.onmicrosoft.com . Yes, this looks like an email address and you will receive any emails directed at it.

It’s also possible to allocate your own domain name as your email address. So if Fred has an email address of fred@acme.com then we could set that as the Office 365 username.

We prefer not to do so for the following reasons:

  • Your company might have several domains, acme.com and acmeexplosives.co.uk for example so remembering which one is your Office365 username could be a problem.
  • We automate some of our admin tasks using scripts and programs and having a standard username format makes this feasible
  • Using your own domain name means logging on won’t work if there are any DNS problems. Just another thing to go wrong!
  • People might not easily guess your Office365 username if they know your email address and are attempting to hack your account.

Microsoft Business Webcasts

Everyone knows who Microsoft are. You’d find it hard to disagree with the fact that they know how to grow, run and maintain a business. They are sharing some of the associated expertise through a couple of webcast series and just in case you’re interested, here are some details.  

Office Small Business Academy

   
 

A monthly educational and thought leadership webcast series created for small business owners as a source of ideas, inspiration, and smarter ways of running a business.


 

Modern Workplace

   
 

A series focusing on the usage of technology and IT to innovate and be productive.

Standardisation – Names & Numbers

Standards are implemented in many places for good reason. They prevent confusion and mistakes and consequently can prevent wasted time and money.

Here I’m going to explain two standards we use at Lorica for contact information.

  • Capitalisation of surnames – This isn’t a documented standard but in today’s international market place where the variety of names we have to deal with is always increasing it allows us to easily identify and therefore correctly address other people. It also means picking out references to people in long documents and emails is easier.
  • E164 telephone number format – Here telephone numbers are always specified in full with the international code at the beginning prefixed by a “+” sign followed by the number missing the internal dial prefix digit (often a “0” in the UK)

The “(0)” often shown is incorrect. If you included this when dialling on nearly any system you’d get an error; it’s for human consumption and just prevents automation when that’s what we should all be aiming for. A correctly formatted e164 number should be acceptable for dialling in any system. Try dialling a full number including the “+” on your mobile phone and it should work, even if you’re abroad. J

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.164

Types of Support Tickets

Our support system revolves around a single important concept.

Each issue, problem, request or whatever equates to one ticket. That’s how we track what has been done, what needs to be done, who’s said what to whom and how much time we’ve spent.

So, it’s an important part of our support procedure that you, as the customer, keeps track of the ticket number that relates to your request. It should be on any emails you’ve received relating to the issue and you should ask for it if you call in. We have a supply of post-it notes where you can record a ticket number and details of the issue and stick it on your monitor, laptop or in your wallet or diary.

 

  • Issue – a single issue that needs to be addressed
  • Problem – A whole group of issues that have their root cause in one problem
  • Service Request – nothing wrong, but a request to do something such as updates or changes