Procurement ยท 8 June 2016

Bacs lock out risk for small business owners ignoring warnings

Bacs lock out
The changes will affect the ability of small firm owners to access the company?s payment services website
Ignoring upgrade requests poses a serious risk to 1,000 small business owners who will soon find themselves locked out of the Bacs system after snoozing important updates one too many times.

The knock-on effects of this could include the failure of important payments to staff and suppliers, the payment scheme provider has warned. Bacs director of scheme support and development, Mike Hutchinson, said: ?We are really disappointed that a number of organisations have not acted on urgent communications about important changes they must make to their payment software. We have been telling them this for more than a year.?

?If you?re a small business owner, you should check now whether or not you have the right software and operating system in place to make important payments, like payroll as well as to settle invoices. If you work for a small business, ask your finance team if they?ve made these changes.?

The changes which Bacs is making on 13 June will affect the ability of small firm owners to access the company?s payment services website and summit payment instructions directly using Bacstel-IP. They are being made in advance of an internet-wide change from SHA-1 to SHA-2 website security certificates, to prevent last minute payment issues as the former is phased out.

Browsers including Internet Explorer and Mozilla will stop supporting websites with SHA-1 impersonation protection at the end of 2016, while Chrome already displays security warnings for sites with this older form of encryption.

Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in 2013 revealed that under 40 per cent of small firm owners regularly install security patches to protect themselves from online fraud, while one-in-four do not routinely update their virus scanning software.

“Cyber crime poses a real and growing threat for small firms and it isn’t something that should be ignored. Many businesses will be taking steps to protect themselves but the cost of crime can act as a barrier to growth. For example, many businesses will not embrace new technology as they fear the repercussions and do not believe they will get adequate protection from crime,? said FSB national chairman, Mike Cherry.

?While we want to see clear action from the government and the wider public sector, there are clear actions that businesses can take to help themselves,? he added.

Worried about the risk of fraud to your small business? Check out our interview with expert Oli Pinson-Roxburgh on what you need to know to protect yourself.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics ? as well as running a tutoring company.