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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today

Cloud cover can’t be relied on

A fundamental misunderstanding of service providers’ backup provision is putting many UK enterprises at serious risk of data loss, warns 4sl, a provider of backup and disaster recovery managed services. Its study of 200 large enterprises shows that 73% of Office 365 Exchange Online users and 92% of Google Cloud Platform users believe such services retain backup data for longer than they do. As standard, Google Cloud Platform does not include any backup provision and Office 365 Exchange Online only does so for 14 days. Because many enterprises have not made provision for additional backup, 46% of organisations using Office 365 Exchange Online and 51% of those using Google Cloud Platform are exposing themselves to the risk of permanent data loss or non-compliance. The problem is likely to get worse as enterprise use of cloud services grows and the growing diversity of cloud services increases backup complexity.

www.4sl.com
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Who’s the Daddy?

Parenthood is not all bad from a professional point of view. A survey carried out by coaching consultancy Talking Talent suggests that parenthood fosters certain transferable skills that can help advance people’s careers. Four out of 10 new parents report improved time management/ organisation skills (44%); greater resilience (41%); the ability to manage change better (40%) and enhanced well-being (40%). Parents also claim to have better people management skills (39%), better leadership skills (38%), the confidence to have difficult conversations (37%) and more gravitas (35%).
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Patent failure

British entrepreneurs and companies were granted just 3,001 patents domestically in 2018, a fall of 8% on the 2017 figure and the biggest year on year decline since 2013. Out of the top 10 global economies, the UK had the second biggest drop in patents granted, surpassed only by Canada (down 13%). Three quarters of patents filed in the UK were rejected by the IPO. In contrast, there was a 23% rise in patents granted to British inventions by the European Patent Office (to 3,827) and a 2% increase in global patents granted. The UK currently lies in 9th place in the global league table for successful patents, with 115 times fewer patents granted than China and 48 times fewer than the US (source: Santander UK).
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Healthy business

Blueair has become a founder member of the Business Clean Air Taskforce (BCAT), the UK’s first business coalition dedicated to tackling air pollution. Established by eight businesses, the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and air pollution campaigner Global Action Plan, BCAT aims to tackle air pollution by speeding up the adoption of existing solutions. One of its first projects will be to encourage employers to improve indoor air quality. In a recent UK poll commissioned by Global Action Plan, 52% of respondents said action on air quality was a major priority, up from 33% six months previously. Actions they would like businesses to take include:

*enabling employees to work from home (34%);
*improving air quality in the spaces they run, such as offices or shops (30%); and
*helping employees to use public transport more (29%).

Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan, said: “Businesses already provide many of the solutions to our air pollution problem. We just need to choose to use them. This taskforce will help more people to do the things that will cut air pollution i.e. drive less, switch to electric vehicles and reduce activity that makes pollution inside our homes.” The founding members of the Business Clean Air Taskforce are Blueair, Philips, Uber, Engie, Octopus Electric Vehicles, Ricardo, Canary Wharf Group and BP Chargemaster.
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A nation of debtors

In the last year, UK SME late payment debt almost doubled to £23.4 billion, up from £13 billion owed in 2018 (source: Pay.UK). More than half (54%) of SMEs have overdue payments, the highest level since 2015. The average late payment debt burden has also increased, reaching £25,000 per company, up from just over £17,000 in 2018. In total, UK small and medium-sized businesses spend £4.4 billion a year just on collecting money they are owed.

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2018