Wednesday, 22 February 2017

How to Prevent Lacklustre Air Quality in Commercial Spaces

The biggest mistakes most people make when it comes to air pollution is thinking their business is immune to air quality problems.

As a business owner, you will have to do all you can to ensure your customers and employees stay safe. Air pollution is something you probably don’t think about on a regular basis. Neglecting to consider the quality of the air in your commercial building can cause serious health issues for anyone who breathes in this air. There are a variety of things that can lead to the air in a commercial space being polluted. It is your job to work with professionals in the air purification industry to figure out what can be done to keep the quality of the oxygen in your building at peak condition.

If your business works with chemicals in confined quarters, then the quality of the air in your workspace can be compromised. Even something as simple as not changing out the air filter for your commercial HVAC system can lead to pollen and other allergens making their way into your air supply.  Read below to find out about air pollution, what causes it and what you can do to reduce the amount of harmful allergens and chemicals in the air supply at your place of business.

Symptoms You May Notice When Dealing with Air Pollution:

The main thing you need to be concerned with when trying to combat air pollution is the warning signs indicating there is a problem. By learning these warning signs, you will be able to take action when a problem is discovered. Below are some of the symptoms you may notice when an air pollution problem is brewing in your commercial building.

·       Constant wheezing
·       Repeated sneezing
·       Frequents congestion issues
·       Extreme fatigue
·       Watery or dry eyes
·       Itching skin

The fact is that the human body needs quality oxygen to operate as intended. Rather than ignoring these types of warning signs, you will need to figure out what needs to happen to rid the air supply in your commercial business of pollutants.

Air Pollutants Are a Lot More Common Than You Think

Among the biggest mistakes most people make when it comes to air pollution is thinking their business is immune to air quality problems. Most people have this idea that air pollution is reserved for large cities covered in smog. The fact of the matter is many of the products used by a small business on a regular day contain a variety of pollutants. There are a number of common products and substances that can cause air pollution like:

·       Chemicals used to clean a commercial building
·       Various types of mould
·       Air fresheners
·       Perfumes and deodorants
·       Pest control chemicals
·       Asbestos and formaldehyde
·       Bacteria and viruses
As you can see, the substances that can cause air pollution are a lot more common than you think. Reducing or eliminating these products or substances from your workplace is the first step in reducing the chance of air pollution.
How to Keep the Air in Your Building Clean
Now that you know the hazards that exist in regards to air pollution, you are ready to learn about how to combat these air quality problems. The first line of defence you have when trying to fight air pollution are the various air filters you have in place. As the professionals at Camfil say, “Air filters are physically simple but technically complex devices.” Here is some information about a few of the different types of air filters and the benefits they can offer.
HEPA Filters - Among the most common and effective type of air filter out there is the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. These types of filters are designed remove more than 99% of the pollen, mould and bacteria that make their way into a building’s air supply. There are also ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) filters on the market designed to remove 99.9995% of the pollutants that make their way into the air supply in a building.
HVAC Filters - These are filters that have particle removal efficiencies consistent with guidelines as published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). They can be very effective at removing common dusts, moulds, bacteria, allergens and other contaminants that present health hazards to building occupants.
Carbon Filters - If your company deals with a lot of harmful gases and aerosol pollutants, then a carbon filter is what you need. Generally, these types of filters are added in with the HVAC filters to enhance the effectiveness they have. Trying to use these types of filters to remove particle type pollutants will be ineffective, which is why using them in conjunction with other types of filters is wise.
Guest blog by Lynne Laake, Camfil USA Air Filters

For further advice on the benefits of the new standard and on filter selection according to the new standard, please visit www.camfil.co.uk or contact Mark Taylor in the UK on +44 (0) 7721 605 378 /  mark.taylor@camfil.co.uk

Friday, 17 February 2017

Court Ruling Jeopardises Google Customer Email

Microsoft won an important court case in 2017 in which it was cleared of having to turn over user data stored on servers in Ireland. It was believed that one more similar ruling would, once and for all, answer the question of whether US government officials could access private data stored on foreign servers. Many thought a Google case in the pipeline would provide that decision. Unfortunately, just the opposite occurred.

Google was simply ordered by a federal court in Pennsylvania to comply with FBI demands to relocate customer e-mails from servers in Ireland to the company's central server in California. The judge who issued the ruling, Thomas J Reuter of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that the FBI transfer order did not violate privacy laws because no private information will be disclosed in the transfer. Furthermore, Reuter stated that Google regularly transfers data between international servers without customers knowing it.

Here lies the problem: once the e-mails are transferred to US-based servers, the FBI will be within its legal authority to subpoena those e-mails on any number of grounds. Google's position is that the transfer order, though not a direct breach of privacy, is simply a precursor to what the FBI really intends to do – subpoena the data

Courts Traditionally in Favour of Privacy

Courts have typically been in favour of protecting consumer privacy against the prying eyes of government law enforcement agencies. Protecting individual privacy is one of the motivations behind so many European governments demanding that data belonging to nationals be stored on European servers. This most recent ruling jeopardises that strategy.

If US courts can successfully order American technology companies to transfer data stored elsewhere back into the United States, any pretence of privacy and security is just an illusion. Once data is back in the US, the FBI, NSA and local and state law enforcement agencies can access it with the mere formality of a subpoena.

This latest decision will undoubtedly be appealed even as dozens of other court cases are still pending. The question over data security and foreign countries is far from being decided, so affected consumers will have to wait to see how it all plays out.

The issue before us right now is whether the recent court decision should be concerning. In a word: yes. The US has been progressively asserting itself and its belief that it has the right to any and all data produced by companies who do business on American soil. Where will it end?

World leaders are expressing a tremendous amount of angst over the populism emerging in the West. This latest court decision is a perfect example of why populism is growing. The ruling is a direct result of the notion of globalism. If we want to be a single global community, we cannot expect courts to recognise international boundaries. Perhaps we should be careful about what we wish for?

Sources:

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Payment Crackdown Intended to Help Small Business

What happens when a small wholesaler doesn't get paid on time by the grocery chains it supplies? Or how about the small data centre and collocation provider whose enterprise clients don't pay their monthly bills on time? Small businesses suffer disproportionately when their customers subject them to late payments because they don't have the same level of cash flow. Tens of thousands of businesses fail every year as a result, according to government estimates. BUT… that's about to change.

The UK government is finally taking action by way of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Beginning in April (2017), large companies will be required to publish pertinent data on the BEIS website explaining how they deal with their vendors. A big part of the disclosure will be the payments they have made to those vendors for services or products rendered. Affected companies will have to report twice annually.

The Federation of Small Businesses estimates that as many as 50,000 small business failures are directly related to larger corporations not paying them on time. They hope the new reporting requirements will drastically reduce that number. How well it will work is anyone's guess.

A History of Problems

The idea of large companies not paying their smaller suppliers on time is nothing new. There is a history of such patterned behaviour here in the UK. But what prompted the government action was the discovery last year that grocery giant Tesco was holding back up to £326 million from vendors by way of payments and rebates. The Groceries Code Adjudicator determined Tesco officials purposely withheld payments in order to improve their own finances. Not only was Tesco forced to pay up immediately but they were also ordered by the government to change the way they do business.

At this point, it seems almost foolish to say the government action is a long time coming. It shouldn't have been necessary. The same large companies withholding payment from their suppliers would never tolerate their own customers being excessively late with payments. You could rest assured that they would put their legal teams on standby if problems with accounts receivable started threatening cash flow. For them to treat vendors differently because they are small businesses without the same kind of accounting and legal resources is not only morally wrong but damaging too.

A Better Position to Succeed

Your average grocery wholesaler or data centre and collocation provider need every opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Forcing larger companies to prove that they are paying their vendors on time is a step in the right direction. It puts the smaller companies in a better position to succeed without constantly having to worry about issues with cash flow.

It will be fascinating to watch how this plays out moving forward. If the Federation of Small Businesses is correct in their assessment and 50,000 companies could be saved every year, the new rules will certainly have an impact on the business landscape. Let's hope the Federation turns out to be correct.