Cyber Security for SMEs

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Just because you are a smaller business doesn’t make you immune to cyber risks, many of which are automated and so attack across the board regardless of the size or ‘importance’ of the victim.

UKITA’s Cyber Essentials Scheme with  free Cyber Insurance cover  costs £300 plus vat

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed and industry supported scheme to guide businesses in protecting themselves against cyber threats. Certification against this scheme is increasingly required for any company bidding for government contracts and sometimes their supply chain too. In addition to this, other organisations are now starting to include Cyber Essentials certification as a requirement in their standard supplier contracts.

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You can apply to be assessed against Cyber Essentials and obtain the certification. No uploading of evidence, vulnerability scan or site visit is required but you will need to get a board member to sign a declaration that your answers are true. The cost of self-assessment is £300 + VAT. This includes:

  • Certification against basic level Cyber Essentials
  • Optional certification against the IASME governance standard
  • Automatic cyber liability insurance for UK domiciled organisation with less than £20m turnover who pass the assessment with the whole company in scope (terms apply)

UKITA’s Cyber Essentials is carried out and administered by UKITA member IASME (Information Assurance for SMEs) and they have a number of higher levels of accreditation available.

Contact us at the membership office to find out more.

01785 532381 – info@ukita.co.uk – or use the livechat panel on the website

Accreditations and Awards

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Our supplier business accreditation is the UKITA Quality Mark. The Quality Mark is a process that enables us to actively verify your client references, PI insurance and any other accreditations and professional memberships you may have.

This can help your proposal stand out in the ‘three quotes’ situation,  as you are already  ‘pre-vetted’ by your independent trade body and Read more

Get involved in the REAL IT, Tech and Digital Sectors

95% of UK IT, Tech and Digital Marketing businesses are smaller than 50 employees

UKITA published a report in 2011 pointing out that 98% of IT, Tech and Digital Marketing businesses in the UK employ fewer than 50 people.

In fact over EIGHTY percent of them employ fewer than 10!

Launch of the European Digital SME Alliance

The UK IT Association  is one of the founding members of the European Digital SME Alliance which is a group of the associations similar to UKITA in the other EU countries.

In this way, the European Digital  SME Alliance is a ‘club of clubs’ of the SME-focussed IT, Tech and Digital businesses in the EU numbering some 20,000 SME businesses amongst its members.

At the CEBIT 2016 conference in Hannover, Dr Oliver Grun, President of the European Digital SME Alliance presented Gerard de Graff (EC Director for the digital economy with a 10-point list of ideas to enhance the EU Digital SME Economy:

  1. A European Digital SME Hub to connect SMEs as an answer to the dominance of large IT business groups
  2. Unified European contract law
  3. Introduction of a European capital company
  4. Tax: reduction of VAT cross-border obstacles, retention of profits and fight multinational tax avoidance
  5. Enabling a modern and data-driven economy
  6. Modernisation of access to finance, especially initial and growth capital
  7. Unified regulation of the digital infrastructure
  8. SME-friendly standardisation policy
  9. Unified European framework on copyright and improvement of European patent law
  10. Digital skills for SMEs

 

A full copy of the 10-point plan which the Digital SME Alliance presented to Gerard de Graaf can be read here (PDF): 

The full Press Release for the CEBIT Launch event appears below:

 

Launch of the European Digital SME Alliance

  • CeBIT of Hannover hosts the launch event of the “European Digital SME Alliance”
  • Digital SME Alliance President Dr. Oliver Grün presents 10 ideas to boost Europe’s digital economy
  • Dr. Grün delivers the 10 ideas to Gerard de Graaf, EC Director for Digital Economy

Hannover 15. March 2016 – PIN-SME, the European association of ICT small and medium sized enterprises, launched the European Digital SME Alliance, the largest network ICT small and medium sized enterprises in Europe, representing about 20.000 digital SMEs across the EU. The alliance is the joint effort of 28 national and regional SME associations from EU member states and neighboring countries to put digital SME at the centre of the EU agenda.

At the opening event today, Dr. Oliver Grün, president of PIN-SME and now of the European Digital SME Alliance, launched the new Alliance together with representatives from national and regional ICT Associations from several countries Europe. „The European economy is driven by SMEs. Numerous SME champions are arising and many of them are leaders in their national markets. Digitalization and internationalization are keys for the success of these companies“ explains Grün. „ European digital SMEs are providers of digital solutions and enablers of digitalization. We want Europe to exploit their potential.“

In a 10-point-paper, the Alliance summarised concrete ideas for Europe to boost its digital economy and for European SMEs to become the future global leaders. Next to ideas such as harmonization of contract law, VAT, digital infrastructure, copyright and patent law, as well as modernization of access to finance, the paper proposes the creation of a European Hub for Digital SMEs to connect SMEs as an answer to the dominance of large IT multinationals.

On behalf of the Alliance, Grün delivered the 10-points-paper to Gerard de Graaf, Director at the European Commission with responsibility for Digital Economy. De Graaf emphasized the importance of digital SMEs for the European economy. „ Digital SMEs enhance innovation and generate jobs across Europe. They are assets for the successful digitalization of European industry. Strong digital SMEs pave the way to a strong European economy in the future.“

About the European Digital SME Alliance:

The European Digital SME Alliance des PIN-SME a.i.s.b.l. presents represents 20,000 ICT SMEs across Europe and is the largest network ICT small and medium sized enterprises in Europe.

More Information: European Digital SME Alliance, 4, Rue Jacques de Lalaing 1040, Brussels, Belgium, office@digitalsme.eu, Tel.: +32 228 507 29, Internet: www.digitalsme.eu

Alternatives to cloud: How can I avoid moving to the cloud?

Barry Collins examines the legitimate reasons why a business might not choose to move to cloud solutions

Cloud computing is often portrayed as an inevitable next step for businesses; not a matter of if, but when. Yet, there are reasons – and sound business reasons, not irrational burying of heads in sand – why cloud computing might not be the best option for some apps or infrastructure within many firms.

Here, we’re going to examine some of the reasons why businesses might steer clear of cloud solutions, perhaps alleviating that nagging fear that sticking to what you know isn’t necessarily a nasty case of Luddism.

Click here to read the full story…

Is Europe heading for a Cloud Constitution?

Industry bodies lending their backing to EC initiative to standardise SLAs 

The cloud computing industry could be drawing closer to having an effective constitution across Europe.

The European Commission (EC) recently unveiled the Slalom initiative, the aim of which is to standardise contractual terms and service-level agreements (SLAs) for providers of cloud computing services across the region. One industry throwing its weight behind the idea is the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), which proclaimed today its status as a founder member of the Slalom consortium, alongside such companies and institutions as Atos, law firm Bird and Bird, the National Technical University of Athens, and the University of Piraeus.

Click here to read the full story…

CREATING SUCCESS 2014 – Thursday 12th June – Where creative businesses meet, learn and collaborate.

What’s this all about and who should attend?
Creative and digital businesses in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin are invited to a special event on Thursday 12th June. ‘Creating Success’ aims to increase the strength of the creative and digital sector in the county by encouraging them to work more closely together and to raise awareness of the business skills they need to operate effectively.

Organised by Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Business Board, the event is particularly aimed at new and existing web design companies, web and software developers, graphic designers, web and print marketing companies, and film businesses, as well as graduates/undergraduates interested in starting a business in these areas.

Format of the day
It will be made up of a series of short talks from expert guest speakers, followed by Q and A’s and open discussions about some of the key issues facing business in this sector. Refreshments will be provided.

Date – 12th June 2014
Time – 12pm till 5pm
Where – Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND
Cost – Free for creative businesses in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin areas.

How to book: Please book on http://creatingsuccess2014.eventbrite.co.uk

Introduced by Shaun Carvill, MD of Clickingmad Ltd and Shropshire Business Board’s creative sector champion, there will be talks about business planning, accounting and legal issues together with keynote speakers from Microsoft Bing and UK Trade & Investment.

Shaun Carvill said: “The creative and digital sector has been identified as one of the priority sectors in the Shropshire economic growth strategy 2012-2026. We want as many creative businesses as possible to come along, to talk to us, to talk to each other, to listen to our speakers, and to tell us what else they think could be done to boost this sector; for everyone’s benefit.

Places at this event are strictly limited and are on a first come first served basis. To reserve a place at the ‘creating success’ event, please click on the eventbrite link. Places are free, but you must be a creative business based in Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin to qualify.

BOOK NOW: http://creatingsuccess2014.eventbrite.co.uk

Announcing UKITA apprenticeships – do you need more bright problem-solvers?

UKITA members often tell us that the current range of IT apprenticeships available do not suit them very well. The reasons they give include:

  • Lack of flexibility in what the apprentices are learning outside the workplace
  • Low people skills, problem-solving  communication ability and timekeeping amongst the candidates
  • Apprentices aren’t becoming productive quickly enough

Along with UKITA member Digital Native, we are designing an IT apprenticeship which recognises the needs of the smaller IT/digital business and is focused on getting the apprentices up to speed for what you need as soon as possible. The scheme is funded in exactly the same ways the bigger providers and taps into the same government money.

This launch event is an opportunity for interested people from small and medium-sized IT employers to:

  • Tell us what you need from a fit-for-purpose apprenticeship scheme
  • Hear about the co-branded UKITA/Digital Native scheme and how it’s genuinely different from what is available elsewhere
  • Give us feedback
  • Consider that this is the ideal time of year to get an apprentice with schools ending this month

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A UKITA MEMBER TO ATTEND THIS FREE EVENT – JUST BOOK AS ‘UKITA MEMBER’ on EVENTBRITE

The programme will be launched in the West Midlands on:
Friday 25th July
12.30pm – 2.00pm
Digital Native UK, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA.

Please sign up here  and come along or, if you can’t make it,  phone the UKITA membership  office on 01785 532381 and give us your thoughts.

UKITA member nFocus selected by Microsoft as Application Lifecycle Management Partner of the Year.

On 27th May 2014, it was announced Software Testing Consultancy nFocus had been selected by Microsoft as their Application Lifecycle Management Partner of the Year for 2014. The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognise partners who have developed and delivered exceptional solutions during the past year.

Last week, nFocus travelled to Washington, US to accept their award at the Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) in front of over 16,000 Microsoft partners, and attend an exclusive award winner reception hosted by the newly appointed CEO, Satya Nadella

nFocus provides a complete testing service; this includes a unique approach to testing within Scrum projects, Application Lifecycle Management Consultancy, Test Automation, Testing Mobile Applications and Test Resourcing.

“This year’s award winners were among some of the best and brightest our partner ecosystem has to offer, so it came as no surprise that nFocus was included in that group as this year’s winner of the 2014 Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management Partner of the Year award,” said Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft Corp. “We congratulate nFocus on this amazing achievement and its continued dedication to providing innovative solutions that drive results for our mutual customers.”

Instrumental to nFocus’ tremendous win was their deployment of an integrated ALM solution to an international healthcare group. This ambitious project, spanning multiple geographies, resulted in the largest UK sale of Visual Studio Test Professional to date. Even more impressively, the deployment is projected to save the healthcare group approximately £220,000 in licensing alone over the next three years, and over £50,000 in efficiency gains due to simplified reporting.

Alongside deployment of the solution, nFocus worked closely with their client to set up Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Test Manager and trained their client’s entire testing team in Visual Studio Test Manager. The training course focussed on the practicalities of the tool, and following analysis of the client’s own processes, the adaptation of the tool to fit those practices.

nFocus’ approach not only accelerated the practical skills of their client’s testing team, increasing tester productivity, it also accelerated the adoption of Visual Studio company-wide.

The engagement included migrating the client’s existing data out of HP Quality Center and moving it into TFS. This approach significantly minimised the disruption to staff post-migration. nFocus’ client gave them a 95% satisfaction score.

Their commitment to exceptional customer service and the desire to remain at the cutting edge of technical expertise sealed the deal for nFocus and resulted in this prestigious award.

“We are delighted to receive this award, our team consistently strive to provide an excellent service to all of our clients and to get recognition for this from Microsoft is a proud moment for us.” Ross Lister, Managing Director, nFocus Testing.