Talking points: security, coffee and more

Posted: 08/03/2019

BL_Talking PointsFeeling insecure

More than half of Channel Islands organisations don’t know whether they’ve been hacked in the past year. So says the first cyber security survey of businesses across the islands, carried out by the Channel Islands accounting and consulting practice at Grant Thornton. Nearly one in five of the companies studied have no plans to review their information security and almost a third have no member of staff nominated to look after this area. More than 2,000 enterprises, offering a good representation of the islands’ business profile, were invited to take part in the survey.

The report’s author and senior consultant in information security, David Cartwright, said that on the plus side, over two-thirds of respondents provide information security training at least once a year to all staff. But he added: “Overall, a third – perhaps many more – of Channel Islands organisations are potentially more vulnerable than the rest to cyber attack and, frankly, are doing nothing about it.”

Meeting hell

More than two thirds of business meetings are deemed pointless, according to research by scheduling platform Doodle. The company interviewed 6,500 professionals across the UK, Germany, the US and Switzerland for its State of Meetings 2019 report, and found that professionals spend two hours a week in pointless meetings on average, adding up to a staggering £425bn worth of resources.

Some 37% of respondents considered meetings to be the biggest cost to their organisation. Participants also said they preferred face-to-face meetings to calls or video chats, and 70% said they would opt for mornings as the best time to hold a meeting. Among the biggest complaints were people texting during meetings, people not listening to the person talking and interrupting each other, and late arrivals. 

The X factor

Only one fifth of the six million businesses in the UK are run by women and, when it comes to starting a new business, there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as female, according to new research led by the University of Dundee.

The university worked alongside the University of Strathclyde to examine why women are under-represented in small businesses – and whether enterprise policy is responsible. They found it may be better to make the economic case for female entrepreneurship, rather than treating it as a diversity issue.

Efforts to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK have been restricted by ever-changing political priorities, the study found. It calls upon policymakers to champion and highlight women-owned businesses in order to help develop a national infrastructure that supports women’s enterprise.

Wake up and smell the coffee

If you enjoy your morning brew, take note. More than half the world’s wild coffee species are at risk of extinction, including the popular Arabica and Robusta strains, according to scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London.

The threat comes from climate change and deforestation. Researchers found that current conservation measures will not protect coffee’s long-term future.

Aaron Davis, Head of Coffee Research at Kew, told Reuters: “As temperatures increase and rainfall decreases, the suitable area for growing coffee diminishes.” Targeted action is urgently needed in forested areas of specific tropical countries – notably Ethiopia – which are being hit hard by climate change.

Insta slam

Photo-sharing app Instagram has taken over from TV as the best way to reach young people, according to research by US financial services firm Cowen.

The company surveyed 50 media buyers with a combined spending power of $14bn. They were asked to identify the primary platform for a new branding campaign aimed at two age groups: 13 to 34 and 35-plus. For the younger group, Instagram was first choice for 61%, with TV chosen by just 3%. Among the older group, TV still came out on top. 

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