Business News

US Reit gets go-ahead for €400m Dublin data centre

A MAJOR stock market-listed US real estate investment trust, CyrusOne, has been granted planning permission for a massive €400m data centre in Dublin.

It will be the Dallas-based company’s first data centre project in Ireland and will significantly boost its global data centre footprint.

Nasdaq-listed CyrusOne, with a $6.6bn (€7.5bn) market capitalisation, currently has more than 40 data centres across the United States, Germany, the UK and Asia.

The planned Dublin data centre will extend over 32,419 sq m (349,000 sq ft) and be separated into two adjoining blocks. It will represent about an 8pc increase in CyrusOne’s current 400,000 sq m of total rentable data centre space.

The data centre will be built at the Grange Castle business park in the capital, where Microsoft and Google already have similar large-scale facilities.

The project is expected to involve up to 250 building personnel during its roughly 18-month construction period.

The Reit is planning to build the two-storey data centre and associated office block on a 9.2-hectare site.

That includes a 6.3-hectare site owned by South Dublin County Council within the Grange Castle Business Park, and an adjoining 2.9 hectares that form the plots of three residential properties that will be demolished to make way for the development.

The project will also include the construction of a new electricity substation and the installation of 32 back-up generators.

The data centre is expected to consume 56.5MW of power when operational.

CyrusOne joins a data centre surge in Ireland that has seen giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook invest billions of euro in such facilities here in the past number of years.

CyrusOne was founded in 2001 and is the third-largest data centre provider in the United States.

CEO Gary Wojtaszek told CNBC this week that the data-centre industry continues to deliver robust growth.

“Our customers, which are predominantly Fortune 1,000 customers, are deployed everywhere globally,” he said. “So if you really want to be helpful to the customers’ needs, you have to have a global platform and if you don’t you’re really in an inferior position.

“We look at all the success we’ve had in the States over the last decade and we feel really comfortable that we’ll be able to export that same success internationally,” he added

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Everything, including CAP, will be hit if there is a hard Brexit

Everything will be hit, including CAP, if there is a hard Brexit, RTE Europe Editor Tony Connelly told a recent Brexit conference.

“The EU budget would be impacted and CAP would come under attack,” Mr Connelly said, adding though, that he was of the view that the Commission didn’t want a radically cut CAP budget because of Brexit – but that was under the scenario that there would be a withdrawal agreement.

“I think everything will be hit if there is a hard Brexit,” he added.

Tariffs, currency fluctuations and corporation tax were among the concerns raised by more than 230 small business owners and interest group representatives at the event this week.

The event held in Loughrea, Co Galway, and organised by Supermac’s, was also addressed by IFA president Joe Healy.

Mr Healy said that some people questioned whether Ireland had allowed itself to become too dependent on the UK as an export market for food.

However he pointed to fact that when Ireland first joined what was then the EEC in 1973, 70pc of agri-exports were going to the UK. Today this figure is around 40pc.

Nonetheless, the agri-food sector is set to be disproportionately impacted by Brexit. Mr Connelly noted that within weeks of the Brexit vote taking place, five mushroom businesses in Ireland went to the wall, due in part to the impact of the fall in the value of sterling.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Thousands left without welfare payments after system crash causes delay

A European payments system crash left thousands of people without vital payments.

People who receive social-welfare payments, such as child benefit and farm assist, found there were no funds in their accounts yesterday morning.

An industry-wide issue affected European payments across a number of banks.

People whose payments were due to be paid into accounts in Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, EBS and An Post were left without money.

The issue was resolved later in the day and frantic efforts were made to credit accounts yesterday afternoon.

People who receive their payments over the counter in a post office were not affected.

Among the payments that were affected were disability allowance, the household benefit package, deserted wives payment, working family payment, jobseeker’s payment, injury benefit and farm assist.

However, weekly State pensions payments were not affected.

“The children’s allowance and social welfare payment due to be paid into the bank in the morning were not there, which has left me and my family of six with 33 cent in the bank,” one concerned mother said.

It is just the latest payments glitch to affect consumers. Just weeks ago, Ulster Bank had another payments issue.

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Protection said a bank payments issue affected European payments, which delayed some social welfare payments due to be paid into customer bank accounts.

“The department can confirm that it processed all its payments as usual.”

AIB and Bank of Ireland account holders said they were not affected the payments breakdown.

Later in the day, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said that payments processing had recommenced and all customers were due to receive payments to their accounts.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Dublin Information Sec 2018: Secure your company smartphones to guard against data breaches

A little over a decade ago, the most popular mobile phone in use in businesses was the humble Nokia 6310i, famed for its near indestructibility and a battery life counted in days not hours.

Today, everyone has a powerful computer in their pocket with the capability to connect to the internet, access work and personal emails, to store files and images relating to friends, families, or customers. It will be impossible to do justice to all angles of this challenge in this article.

Article 32 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) restates some age old principles of information security. However, it is important for organisations of all sizes to have considered how they will prevent unauthorised access to or disclosure of data, how they will respond to such issues, and how they will meet their obligations to notify affected individuals and the Data Protection Commission in the event of a data security breach involving a mobile device.

Enable encryption on your devices and set a pass code

This is “entry-level” security and is the minimum anyone should be doing. Encryption is on by default on iOS devices but needs to be enabled on most Android devices through system settings. Combined with a passcode (and one longer than four digits where possible), you create a barrier to your phone being accessed by third parties. Use of fingerprint readers is increasingly popular, but it does raise challenges in the context of data privacy as it is a biometric identifier.

Check what data is being accessed and where data is being stored.
It is a worthwhile exercise to regularly review the apps you have installed to verify what data they can access from or write to your device. If you find you have apps you simply are not using, it is worth deleting them so their access is revoked.

The proliferation of messaging apps in recent years has resulted in an increase in sharing of images or files through these tools. It’s worth checking where these apps download their photos or files to and, if you don’t want data saved to your device, adjust the settings accordingly.

Update your operating system regularly

Both Apple and Google frequently push out updates. However, Android update roll-outs depend on manufacturers. As of September 3, Fossbytes.com reported that more than 72pc of devices were not running the latest version of Android.

Compare this to iOS which, as of September 19, had 80.5pc of users on version 11 or higher.

Use a VPN

Whether you are using your mobile service provider’s network or public wifi, a VPN client on your phone or mobile device is a useful security precaution to keep your data safe.

This is particularly the case if you are using public wifi or shared wifi networks to keep your data usage down on your bills. There are a range of good VPN clients out there for individuals and organisations. Freedome from F-Secure is one I use personally.

Enable Two Factor Authentication on your accounts

Devices are a gateway into your organisation’s data and increasingly they are being targeted for phishing attacks, as the design of mobile email clients and messaging apps allows for email headers to be hidden and makes spoofed email addresses harder to spot.

The use of SMS and messaging apps as attack vectors make it easier for attackers to “personalise” attacks. According to research by Lookout, mobile phishing attempts have increased 85pc year on year since 2011. Research from security vendor Wandera found the average mobile user was 18 times more likely to encounter a phishing attack then a malware attack and were three times more likely to fall for phishing on mobile than desktop. Two-factor authentication creates an additional layer of security to prevent human fallibility exposing your organisation.

Put in place a device management policy and supporting tools

Be clear with staff what will happen if a device is lost or stolen. This is particularly important where the device is used for both work and personal life. Mobile device management tools can help with enforcing encryption and device locking/wiping policies. More advanced solutions can create a “walled garden” for work apps that can be controlled separately from the rest of the phone. As ever, GDPR and common sense require you to consider what is the appropriate level of security and controls for your organisation’s data.

Staff leaving with data on devices

This is an often overlooked risk with mobile devices but is a very common challenge. Staff (or volunteers in a not-for-profit organisation) need to be aware that the personal data they are given in the course of their role with your organisation is given to them for specific purposes and is not their data to take when they leave.

Unless the data is very clearly given in a personal context, any use of that data by the former staff member or contractor could constitute a breach of Section 144 or Section 145 of the Data Protection Act 2018. In any event, it would constitute a breach under GDPR. Have clear policies and procedures around deletion of data and recovery of data on personal or devices of former staff. In conclusion, treat devices as the small computers they are, and remember they are often a key gateway into your organisation for staff and malicious actors alike.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Small firms fear Brexit tariffs and CAP budget cuts

Tariffs, currency fluctuations and corporation tax were among the concerns raised by more than 230 small business owners and interest group representatives at a Brexit event yesterday.

The event held in Loughrea, Co Galway, and organised by Supermac’s, was addressed by RTE Europe editor Tony Connelly, and Farmers Association president Joe Healy. Among the concerns aired by those present were the implications for small businesses in the event of a hard Brexit.

One such business owner was Mícheál Quinn, owner of Quinn RV SIP, a vehicle manufacturing company employing just over 100 people in Athenry, Co Galway.

Quinn RV SIP exports as much as 70pc of its products to the UK. Mr Quinn said he feels SMEs are largely being ignored by the Government and Enterprise Ireland.

By attending the event, he hoped to get “some form of clarity” around Brexit, but added that he didn’t think he would. “It is becoming difficult to get straight answers,” he said.

The company has projects scheduled for the UK market next spring, and he told the Irish Independent that a number of key customers in the UK have contacted him for assurance that he will still take on UK-based work “which is comfort to us”. However he remains concerned about the impact of possible tariffs and currency fluctuations on this business.

Another SME owner said that while what Brexit will look like remains unknown, it was “reassuring” to be in a room full of businesses with similar concerns.

Worries were also raised around Ireland’s corporation tax rate. The 12.5pc rate has long been a point of contention among some other European nations.

A member of the audience asked if the rate would now come under pressure at European level, given that Ireland was losing a “huge ally” in Europe once the UK leaves the EU.

“There is always pressure on Ireland to adjust our tax regime and that pressure is always resisted,” Mr Connelly said.

However, Mr Connelly added that for any change to the rate to take place, there would need to be unanimity from EU member states on the matter, and Ireland has a veto on any changes to tax rules.

Mr Healy said that some people questioned whether Ireland had allowed itself to become too dependent on the UK as an export market for food.

However he pointed to fact that when Ireland first joined what was then the EEC in 1973, 70pc of agri-exports were going to the UK. Today this figure is around 40pc.

Nonetheless, the agri-food sector is set to be disproportionately impacted by Brexit. Mr Connelly noted that within weeks of the Brexit vote taking place, five mushroom businesses in Ireland went to the wall, due in part to the impact of the fall in the value of sterling.

Ann Mitchell, a member of Galway IFA, asked whether the budget for Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would by affected under a no-deal scenario between the UK and the EU.

“The EU budget would be impacted and CAP would come under attack,” Mr Connelly said, adding though, that he was of the view that the Commission didn’t want a radically cut CAP budget because of Brexit – but that was under the scenario that there would be a withdrawal agreement. “I think everything will be hit if there is a hard Brexit,” he added.

Mr Healy went on to say that a fear for the IFA is that the UK, post-Brexit, pursue a “cheap food policy… importing food from places like South America”.

Mr McDonagh, CEO of Supermac’s, said that he was hosting the event because Brexit is something “we are all still learning about”.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Manufacturing growth falls in September

Growth in the Irish manufacturing sector fell slightly in September.

The Irish Manufacturing Purchasers Managers’ Index (PMI) recorded a reading of 56.3 for the month, down from the seven month high of 57.5 reported in August.

Any reading over 50 is deemed growth.

Overall, and the manufacturing sector continued to perform strongly in September, according to the report from IHS Markit.
New orders and output rose sharply again, while firms responded by upping their rate of job creation, with employment in the sector increasing at the fastest pace in seven months.

The rate of input cost inflation remained elevated, encouraging manufacturers to continue raising output prices.

New export business also increased, and at a broadly similar pace to the previous month.

Looking forward and firms remained confident that output will increase over the coming year. Optimism reflected predictions of higher new orders, the launch of new products and higher operating capacity.

“The Irish manufacturing sector continued to buck the recent trend of weakening growth seen in the eurozone, with manufacturing output rising sharply again in September,” Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, said.

“The main highlight from the latest PMI survey is a sharp pick-up in the rate of job creation, with employment increasing at the fastest pace in seven months as firms responded to higher workloads and looked to expand capacity.”

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Problem Solver: Do I really need to take a startup course to go out on my own after 15 years?

Q Having worked for 15 years for an employer, I am now starting my own business. I am being encouraged to do a startup course, which I feel is unnecessary after my years in business. What do you think?

A You are being given good advice. Most of these courses are run by your Local Enterprise Office and the general feedback I get from anyone who has completed them is very strong.

The fact that you have worked for a long period in industry will assist your business in a very big way and has probably allowed you to develop the business model you are planning to come to market with. You will, however, be dealing with lots of new areas which you have never encountered in the past, like tax, Vat, payroll, and doing your own book-keeping.

Many people who were formerly in industry don’t pay enough attention to these headings and really struggle with them when their business goes live.

Don’t underestimate the practical aspects of running a business which can sometimes be every bit as critical as generating sales and developing marketing programmes.

You will also find as you complete this course, you will be involved with a mix of 10 or 15 other businesses and the networking and knowledge-sharing through these groups can also be phenomenal. I wish you well and would really encourage you to do this course.

Q I am finding it increasingly difficult for my business to stand out in what has become a mature sector that I am trading in. My competitors have caught up with me and I am not sure what to do now

A If you read many of the textbooks about how businesses and sectors evolve, what you are describing happens in most business sectors. The sector starts off with a small number of players who compete and create a competitive advantage over each other. As the decades progress, they improve their offers, copy each other and generally try to capture as much market share as they can. A point is eventually reached where there is very little difference between each of the operators.

While the above is true, I still subscribe to the idea that any business can continue to differentiate itself from its competitors for an unlimited period, but you have to look very closely at the business.

One of the things the team in Superquinn were very good at was identifying changes that could be made that would really benefit the consumer – like recognising that customers really wanted their vegetables to be ultra-fresh. We developed a scheme to cut and sell sensitive fresh products within 24 hours, so consumers buying lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, etc, could be guaranteed their product was at maximum freshness. While our competitors could all have done this, none of them spotted the opportunity until after we succeeded in attracting attention with the scheme. By the time they copied us, we had moved on to the next innovation.

Another simple example was when we guaranteed all of our steaks to be 100pc tender and offered to refund any customer that felt otherwise. We caught the market completely off guard and while our competitors could have put the same schemes into place, they didn’t see the opportunity. We over-traded in beef for many decades while our competitors tried to catch up.

There are dozens of innovations to the operating model that you can make and I don’t subscribe to the idea that this process ever stops. It is always possible to keep ahead of your competitors. Keep your team energised and focused and listen to your customers

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Small firms fear Brexit tariffs and CAP budget cuts

Tariffs, currency fluctuations and corporation tax were among the concerns raised by more than 230 small business owners and interest group representatives at a Brexit event yesterday.

The event held in Loughrea, Co Galway, and organised by Supermac’s, was addressed by RTE Europe editor Tony Connelly, and Farmers Association president Joe Healy. Among the concerns aired by those present were the implications for small businesses in the event of a hard Brexit.

One such business owner was Mícheál Quinn, owner of Quinn RV SIP, a vehicle manufacturing company employing just over 100 people in Athenry, Co Galway.

Quinn RV SIP exports as much as 70pc of its products to the UK. Mr Quinn said he feels SMEs are largely being ignored by the Government and Enterprise Ireland.

By attending the event, he hoped to get “some form of clarity” around Brexit, but added that he didn’t think he would. “It is becoming difficult to get straight answers,” he said.

The company has projects scheduled for the UK market next spring, and he told the Irish Independent that a number of key customers in the UK have contacted him for assurance that he will still take on UK-based work “which is comfort to us”. However he remains concerned about the impact of possible tariffs and currency fluctuations on this business.

Another SME owner said that while what Brexit will look like remains unknown, it was “reassuring” to be in a room full of businesses with similar concerns.

Worries were also raised around Ireland’s corporation tax rate. The 12.5pc rate has long been a point of contention among some other European nations.

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A member of the audience asked if the rate would now come under pressure at European level, given that Ireland was losing a “huge ally” in Europe once the UK leaves the EU.

“There is always pressure on Ireland to adjust our tax regime and that pressure is always resisted,” Mr Connelly said.

However, Mr Connelly added that for any change to the rate to take place, there would need to be unanimity from EU member states on the matter, and Ireland has a veto on any changes to tax rules.

Mr Healy said that some people questioned whether Ireland had allowed itself to become too dependent on the UK as an export market for food.

However he pointed to fact that when Ireland first joined what was then the EEC in 1973, 70pc of agri-exports were going to the UK. Today this figure is around 40pc.

Nonetheless, the agri-food sector is set to be disproportionately impacted by Brexit. Mr Connelly noted that within weeks of the Brexit vote taking place, five mushroom businesses in Ireland went to the wall, due in part to the impact of the fall in the value of sterling.

Ann Mitchell, a member of Galway IFA, asked whether the budget for Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would by affected under a no-deal scenario between the UK and the EU.

“The EU budget would be impacted and CAP would come under attack,” Mr Connelly said, adding though, that he was of the view that the Commission didn’t want a radically cut CAP budget because of Brexit – but that was under the scenario that there would be a withdrawal agreement. “I think everything will be hit if there is a hard Brexit,” he added.

Mr Healy went on to say that a fear for the IFA is that the UK, post-Brexit, pursue a “cheap food policy… importing food from places like South America”.

Mr McDonagh, CEO of Supermac’s, said that he was hosting the event because Brexit is something “we are all still learning about”.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Eight things to know about the pay-rise plan for public sector workers

Public sector workers will benefit from changes to austerity-era cost-cutting measures as pay rises are on the way.

Pay hikes worth €3,300 are on the way for more than 60,000 workers – but it may not be enough to avoid strikes.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the problem with recruits’ pay?
The Government brought in a so-called ‘yellow pack’ two-tier pay system during the recession in a bid to cut costs when the Exchequer finances were in crisis. Former finance minister Brian Lenihan announced the cuts to new recruits’ pay in 2010, and they went on rates 10pc lower than their longer-serving colleagues.

Did this improve for workers since the recession ended?
The 10pc cut was replaced with two lower starting points at the bottom of the pay scales under the Haddington Road agreement in 2013.

This meant the new entrants went on the same scale as colleagues, but it took them two years longer to reach the maximum point.

What are increments and payscales?
Public servants are on incremental pay scales that mean pay rates might start, say, at €23,000, which is called the first point in the scale, and rise annually by €5,000 increments until they reach the top of the scale, which could be €50,000. The length of pay scales vary and some grades of staff may have 12 points and others 27.

How many new entrants are there?
There are 60,513, or roughly one in five of the public service workforce.

What kind of pay rise can the new recruits expect?
The average public servant will get a €3,300 increase, as outlined in an Expenditure Department report last March.

What about nurses, teachers, gardaí and soldiers?
The average payment to education workers is €3,771. Teachers make up 16,054 or 68pc of these new entrants;
The average payment to health workers is €3,318. Nurses are 38.5pc of this;
The average civil servant will get €2,548;
The average local authority worker will get €1,875;
The average member of the Defence Forces will get €1,603;
The average garda will get €1,500.
Aren’t public servants getting pay rises already?
They are already on course to get pay rises worth more than 7pc over the course of the current pay deal.

What does the deal mean?
The new entrants will bypass point four and point eight of their pay scales. They will get these benefits from March next year.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Tax advisers demand urgent SME action

Tax advisers have written to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe claiming tax law is in need of “urgent reform” in order to support the SME sector through Brexit.

Umbrella group the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies – Ireland (CCAB-I) highlighted how changes to the Employment Investment and Incentive (EII) scheme have had “a substantially negative impact on funding for startups and established SMEs”.

A public consultation was conducted on the topic in May.

“Our members wish to emphasise the urgent need for reform or replacement of the EII scheme to get much needed funds into startups and SMEs, who cannot otherwise access the necessary finance,” said the accountancy body.

The letter also raised concerns about the impact of transfer pricing rules. “In our view, extending transfer pricing rules to SMEs would merely increase the burden of paperwork without significantly enhancing the integrity of the system.”

CCAB-I suggested a postponed method of accounting for Vat should be introduced in the Finance Act 2018 so Irish businesses importing goods from the UK will not incur “a potentially crippling upfront Vat cost”.

The letter was also sent to Martin Shanahan, CEO of the IDA, and Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42