Is ISO Certification For You?

If you think the answer could be YES to any of these 2 questions – evaluate. If NO – park it in the long grass.

1. Could the route to an ISO Certification improve or make your business more Robust?

2. Could ISO Certification be a route to New Business?

evaluate if ISO 9001 or ISO 27001 will Profit Your Business – QUICK CHECK

#iso9001 Quality #Management – #iso27001 #InformationSecurity – #ukas #certification

“SMiShing” – Mobile Phone Scams supported by EE?

SMiShing (SMS phishing) is a type of phishing attack where mobile phone users receive text messages containing a Web site hyperlink, which, if clicked would download a Trojan horse to the mobile phone.



I have been receiving regular text messages for some time now, saying “You subscribed to Clicnscore for £4.50 per week from ClicNScores until you text STOP” – bad English I know. I had another message from “Loaded Mobi”- “You can access the games portal here” followed by a link.

Thinking both were merely “SMiShing, I clicked on neither STOP nor the link. Unfortunately our phone bills go straight to our Accountant, but I had cause lately to query a bill I thought was high. It turns out both of these companies have been regularly paid through my EE account.

EE informed me it was not there responsibility & gave me text links to cancel subscriptions & phone numbers to complain & ask for a refund. Both numbers are automated, ClicnScore gives you a message “there are no charges to your phone” – then cuts you off, Loaded Mobi puts you in a call queue then cuts you off.

I have since searched these 2 companies on the internet, they have been investigated on Watchdog, reported on BBC, The Express & Mail Newspapers. The Sun Newspaper first reported this back in the 19th of May 2016.

EE say while they are aware, had so many complaints & have investigated, they still have no responsibility as you have the option to block all payments from your account. Shouldn’t EE be at least protecting our accounts against such well publicised Common Scams? It would be so simple for EE to set up authentication, so why not take responsibility for Customer Data & Accounts – have they a vested interest?

Perhaps merits an ICO investigation? I’ll certainly report!

“SEXTORTION” – I Have Been Hacked!

Imagine my surprise when I received an email in my Inbox containing my password in the Subject line – “ Your Password is xxxxxxxxx”!

The email goes on to say that you have been watching Porn, they have filmed you, have all your contacts & will distribute if you don’t pay a Bitcoin Ransom. Luckily I don’t have a penchant for pornography & never visit dodgy sites on any of my devices, so immediately recognised the Scam & reported to Action Fraud.



I was still left with a sick feeling in my stomach at the intrusion, the nature of the email & more importantly that somebody had stolen one of my passwords. On consideration the email & password combination had only existed on a Google Account that I had since changed many times.

A few weeks ago I made a Linkedin Post on the importance of password selection – number & type of characters etc. This however has led me to focus on something that lacked from that post – the number of your Passwords, variance & the frequency you change your passwords? My password was stolen some time ago but has only just been used, so you may have to assume that all of your passwords have been stolen unless you really know otherwise?? To mitigate this I would suggest –

• Have multiple but varying Passwords

• Change your Passwords frequently

• Use 2 Step or Multi-Factor Authentication

Remember if you only have a one Password fits all policy – they will steal from the weakest account & use it to access all of your accounts!

Controversial but……If you have so many complex passwords & feel you have to write them on a piece of paper & store safely, what is the chance someone will break into your house or office looking for Passwords, or steal your purse/wallet in order to obtain passwords rather than Cash or Credit Cards – just don’t keep the 2 together ????. Besides Passwords can be changed quicker than you can cancel Credit Cards & we wouldn’t be without them. I am a systems rather than an IT Tech person, so seek out good advise….

Stay Safe People

Full Article on This Scam

QM.UK Delivering ISO Standards Since 2001

QMUK 17yrs Today – Growing Business by Growing Businesses! & thanks to all the businesses we have worked & grown with over the last 17 years –

Orion (Computer Consumables Distributor) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2004, bought in 2005 by Westcoast

Wstore (IT Reseller) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2009 – bought by Misco/Symantex in 2009 who we also helped through ISO 14001 in the same year

Optevia (Microsoft Cloud based CRM Systems) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought by IBM Global Business Services Division 2016

Blue Chip (Managed IT Services & Cloud Hosting) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought out by GCI in 2017 who we also helped through ISO 9001, 27001 & 14001 in 2013

EPS Research (Clinical Data Analysis) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 also – bought out by IQVIA in 2017

Current Clients: MLL Telecom Grown from 55 to 130 staff in just over 2 years, CTS (Combined Tech Serv) Grown 30% in 2 years, Wilkinson Eyre Grown 50%, secured Battersea Power St Project and with the challenges of GDPR The Telecom Marketing Company continue to grow & prosper….

Find out how we can work with you & help YOUR business Grow

How Do You PROVE Your Product or Service Claims?

Many companies make bold marketing claims that are hard to prove & often unsubstantiated, so go largely unbelieved.



So Keep it Simple: Say It – Do it – Prove It!

In purchasing your product or Service with the exception of cost, what elements are most important to your Customer?

Quality of Product or Service?

When customers find a product or service they trust, they return, make repeat purchases, and recommend the product or service to others. Develop a Mgt System with processes that consistently deliver on time & at minimum, to your customer’s requirements. Then Independently certify your Claims – ISO 9001 Certification

Security of Their Information & Privacy?

Without the proper checks and balances in place to safeguard customer data, things can go sideways very quickly. Develop a Mgt System that risk assesses all information you hold ensuring you fully implement the controls required to effectively protect both their & your own information, then inspire customer confidence by Independently Certifying – ISO 27001 Certification

The Potential Health & Safety Impact of Your Operations:

Health and safety is an integral part of any and every business as it ensures that the well-being of employees, customers and visitors is protected. Alleviate potential customer concerns over the Safety of your operations, products or services by having your H&S Systems certified – ISO 45001 Certification – (replacing OHSAS 18001)

Your Possible Impact on the Environment or Their Environmental Profile:

Many companies place great importance on their Environmental profile. A Unilever study reveals a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. Good practice can attract new customers Demonstrate you take your potential environmental impacts seriously by certifying to a recognised Environmental Standard – ISO 14001 Certification

Wear the badges with pride – #iso9001 #iso27001 #iso45001 #iso14001

Say It – Do it……….. PROVE IT!

GDPR for the 25th May, ISO 27001 for Life?

With the many GDPR offerings & associated fear mongering out there, businesses would be forgiven for forgetting there has always been a legal requirement on the use and protection of Personal Data – The Data Protection Act. In fact, the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has been tracking down & levying fines on many shady companies that have abused personal data for many years. Nobody is above the law, even Humberside Police have been fined £140 000 & the Royal Mail Group £12 000:

5th April 2018 – Humberside Police has been fined £130,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after disks containing a video interview of an alleged rape victim went missing.

6th April 2008 Royal Mail Group Limited has been fined £12,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after sending more than 300,000 nuisance emails. On two dates in July 2017, the company sent emails to 327,014 people who had already opted out of receiving direct marketing.

ICO Actions Taken

The introduction of GDPR while protecting individuals & clarifying the requirements for business in my opinion has best served to re-focus on the need to protect information, but don’t lose focus – While the loss or mishandling of Personal Information can lead to one of the above fines, the careless handling of Business-Critical Information could affect the loss of your business.

Long term I would recommend you incorporate all of your business in an Information Security Management System. Information Security isn’t just for the 25th May it is for the whole year and your entire Business. Use ISO 27001 guidance to set up an Information Security System that protects your whole business & ISO 27001 Certification to demonstrate Due Diligence & give potential customers that warm cosy feeling –

FURTHER INFORMATION

Evaluate if ISO 9001 or ISO 27001 will Profit Your Business

It is essential you make an informed decision on whether ISO 9001, ISO 27001 or any of the other standards will help or profit your company before embarking on the Certification process, particularly small businesses that may invest time and money but gain no resulting benefit or return on investment.

The 2 main reasons for seeking ISO Certifications are simple – Business Improvement or access to New Business. You should consider the reasons for pursuing Certification below prior to any decision –

Business Improvement

• Your business is expanding but you feel your processes and systems may not be robust enough to cope

• Your business processes have been static for many years and you want a tool to drive improvements

• There is obvious scope for rationalising processes & increasing efficiency and profitability

• You fear your IT Systems & operations may not be secure enough to protect your business & the critical information it holds (ISO 27001)

Access to New Business

• Your business is growing and the competitors you wish to compete with hold Certifications

• You wish to access Public Sector work or Frameworks

• Certification requirements are more frequently appearing on tenders

• Potential or current customers are asking if you have Certifications

• You are a new or small business and want to verify your credentials with Certification to compete with more established companies

• You fear the effect of Brexit and want to maintain the maximum competitive edge

Look at the processes of achieving certification considering the costs and man-hours involved. We would obviously advise consultancy help, as although this has a cost attached, it will greatly reduce the number of in-house hours consumed by personnel inexperienced in the certification process. Obtain more than one consultancy quote and ensure you determine the cost of internal man-hours in addition to the consultancy fees.

On establishing the ultimate cost, consider if it will produce a return on your investment. For the smaller businesses or new starts it is worth speaking to potential customers & directly asking – will Certification improve our chances of doing new business?

Get a free & brief initial review & honest quote from us that will include our costs, UKAS Certification Fees & the estimated man-hours your people will have to invest, and then GO COMPARE……

Quotes by email correspondence – no Sales Pitches ENQUIRIES

What is the Financial Impact of ISO?

From our experience businesses pursuing ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001 do it for one of 3 reasons:

• To fulfil tender or customer requirements and win new work

• To drive Business or Process improvement

• Both of the above

I would guestimate from our experience 20% of businesses pursue certification to solely fulfil tender or customer requirements and win new work.

A similar percentage would use their certification project to focus mainly on driving Business or Process improvement.

The bulk of businesses want the certification to win new work but engage with the process of attaining certification, to benefit from both Business & process improvements.

For any Business considering implementing the standards we would always ask that they consider Return on Investment. Firstly obtain a costing for the certification route you think could best help you improve in your operations & best serve a positive outcome in gaining your chosen certification. See previous post for various methods of attaining certification.

The main financial benefit will be the additional tenders it qualifies you for & the extra work it may bring in – ask your potential clients if it could give you a more favourable outcome when bidding for work. Benefits outside of this most obvious financial reward are normally found in the project phase & can be –

ISO 9001 Project Phase

• Enables you to examine your current operating processes & identify areas for improvement

• Pushes you to rationalise & define systematic processes that ensures all are “singing off the same hymn sheet” within the business

• Clearly defined business processes support company growth “before things get out of control”

ISO 27001 Project Phase

• Ensures you identify all information stored within the company & it’s importance to your business

• Systematically guides you through risk assessing the threats & vulnerabilities to the information you hold

• Ensures you put in adequate controls to protect your information and ultimately your business

ISO 14001 Project Phase

• Identifies any aspect of your business that can impact the environment

• Makes you evaluate the impacts your business could have on the environment & identifies the controls needed to reduce the likelihood or prevent such impacts

• Ensures an awareness of Environmental Legislation & avoids any unnecessary & “crippling” fines

OHSAS 18001 Project Phase

• Identifies any Hazards within your business that could impact Human Health or cause Accidents

• Makes you evaluate the Risks associated with these Hazards & identifies the controls needed to reduce the likelihood of accidents or affects on Human Health

• Ensures an awareness of Health and Safety Legislation, avoids any unnecessary “crippling” fines & most importantly protects both your employees and anybody else who can be affected by your work

These are just a few bullet points on some of the ways certification can help your business, there are many more. So if you want any further info just get in touch.

grant@qmuk.co.uk

“I know a company who has ISO 9001, and they are totally useless”

So just how much of a Benchmark is it – How Credible is ISO Certification?

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the Quality Standard but as such the most open to controversy. This is because there is often confusion as to what “Quality” actually is. If one company produced a Ford Focus & another a Ferrari, most would regard the later as having produced the highest Quality Product. However “Quality” is defined as the ability to deliver to pre-defined requirements. Therefore if the requirements were a roomy car that did 40 mpg & could be retailed at less than £20k, the production of a Ferrari would be a very poor Quality Output.

It should also be noted that ISO 9001 is certification of your Management System, not your product or service. Certification to the standard confirms your Management System has achieved a standard that can ensure consistency of product or service. What level a company sets itself to deliver is up to them and in fact Ford and Ferrari could operate to the very same Quality Management System – they just produce to different specifications. So before you right off an ISO 9001 company you have to ask, are they consistently delivering to their (or your) specification – not everybody can afford a Ferrari.

ISO 27001

The Information Security Standard. This is the most current & in demand as Cyber Attacks become more frequent & companies become more aware of their vulnerabilities and the need to secure services from companies that can safeguard their information. This standard is the most reliable measure of a company’s credentials, as Information Security is more measurable and less subjective than Quality.

There are 2 main parts to ISO 27001. A company has to identify all of its Information Assets, Risk Assess & Control. The other main part of ISO 27001 is a detailed list of “Control Objectives” (requirements) for which, if applicable – you must put a control in place. This makes 27001 the most measurable & auditable of standards, therefore Certification does ensure a high level of Information Security.

ISO 14001

The Environmental Standard. This is a reliable measure that a company has systematic control over any possible environmental impact and has plans in place for continual improvement. A large part of this is similar to 27001 in that a company has to identify all of its Environmental Aspects rather than Information Assets, but still Risk Assesses & Controls. Environmental Objectives must also be established to where possible, continually improve environmental performance.

If you feel a company claiming to be holding one of these standards is poorly performing, don’t take it on face value. Check it is a credible Certification, or that it is a certification at all. If it is a UKAS Approved Certification Body ask for their name or take it off a displayed logo and contact them asking if the company is actually ISO Registered with them. If it is in the UK and not a UKAS Certification, it’s best not taking it as verification of anything……

grant@qmuk.co.uk

ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 – How Long Does It Take?

Time Scale varies greatly for the various ISO offerings in the Market Place, as does client requirements & expectations. The time to Certification depends on Internal Expertise, External Help, Management Commitment, Internal Resource & the Route you chose.

As independent UKAS Certification is the only certification recognised by ISO & the British Government, if you choose any other route – pay your money and demand it right away. Don’t be surprised though if it costs business rather than creates.

3 main routes to UKAS Certification:

1. Internal Expertise

If you have an internal member of your team who has been through the process before or is a relevant practising Quality, Information Security, Environmental or Health & Safety Mgr, he will probably be able to successfully guide you through the process. Timeframe will depend on how much experience they have of taking organisations through the process & how much commitment they get from their colleagues. Being internal the most frequent downfall is that chargeable work often tends to take priority & ISO is often put on the back burner – or seen as almost the sole responsibility of that Manager & is hard to integrate.

2. Training

If you wish to proceed without an external consultant but do not have the full internal expertise to proceed, there are training courses available. We would recommend you seek UKAS Certification Bodies for these courses. The trouble is these courses are very generic & we would only recommend this route if you have a Manager or person who may just fall short. We would recommend them as refresher or top-up courses, rather than a one-stop shop to ISO Certification. Timeframe raises same concerns as previous route, only a less experienced person is likely to attract less internal commitment & their aptitude for training is less predictable. The less experienced the person is, the more likely they are to go “Belt & Braces” with their systems to ensure conformance to all the clauses. This often produces cumbersome systems costly & time consuming to maintain ongoing.

3. External Consultancy

External Consultants who have several years experience of implementing systems & gaining ISO Certification should give a more predictable outcome. “Buyers Beware” – consultants can promise to meet your fast-track timeframes, but it is still less than predictable. To successfully implement a system & be able to demonstrate full integration into your working practices, there still requires internal commitment & resource. While an external consultant can produce a lean, dynamic system & guarantee a positive outcome – timeframe will still rely heavily on Internal Commitment.

While at QM.UK we offer the third option, we recommend you explore all options before making a decision.

QM.UK UKAS ISO 9001. ISO 27001, ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Consultants