How to guard against cyber-attacks as industry threat grows

Thousands of contractors are facing another week without pay as the cyber-attacks on umbrella companies continue. This article looks at what is happening and what you can do to safeguard your business and your contractors from the inconvenience, cost, and stress of a cyber-attack.

Without pay for weeks

There is confusion and concern as several cyber-attacks have hit several high-profile umbrella firms in recent weeks, causing wide system outages and many contractors left without pay or any idea of when the situation will be resolved.

This has come as a particular shock to the industry, following the widely publicised cyber-attack on an umbrella provider last September, when FCSA warned over 5,000 agencies of attack. This should have acted as a warning for companies to tighten up measures and improve online security.

But it seems that first attack was just the beginning, as a slew of new incidents are happening as we speak. 

“Significant Issues” Caused by Cyber Attack

Following that first attack, another high-profile umbrella has been suffering outages since 10th January, which is delaying pay and other services. Although the umbrella has said that they have managed to resume some pay runs. The systems were quickly shut down to protect user data, although they believe personal information to be safe and shutting down the systems is simply a precautionary measure.

Further attacks

Another high-profile payroll service provider has also been hit by what they described as an “extremely aggressive” cyber-attack, which was immediately detected and contained. But the industry is clearly under significant assault.

The situation has caused much discussion on LinkedIn, with one business analyst stating that the umbrella industry should now be on a “war footing” when it comes to IT security.

Neither of the latest high profile payroll providers to suffer this blow have yet confirmed the nature of the attacks, although further investigation is underway. 

So, what can you and your provider do to protect your users from the disruption and security threat caused by cyber-attacks?

Robust Cybersecurity

The increase in home working, where networks simply weren’t set up to offer commercial level protection, has led to additional risks for umbrella firms. 

Businesses need to look at all areas of their processes and where there might be leaks and ensure that all computers are protected with commercial grade antivirus software and systems to identify and eliminate threats. 

Knowledge is power

It is crucial to educate all staff to understand the current situation and what they need to do to look out for anything suspicious and identify threats, so that attacks can be stopped and resolved before they get out of hand.

Knowledge is power

Reputable umbrella companies take cyber security extremely seriously, and always have. But these attacks have certainly been a wakeup call for those providers who didn’t see it coming, all of whom have contractors relying on their system safety for fast, safe, and efficient payroll. 

Talk to us at JMK today about the steps we take to keep your business, your contractors, and your data safe.


Since 2002, JMK have been compliantly consolidating back-office, accountancy and payroll functions. 

We have evolved to provide a range of expert services; such as Back Office Support (BOS) or Funding, becoming a leading provider to the contracting industry.

We know every agency is different in some shape or form, even if only by a little, but important bit. Combining our knowledge and experience of multiple sectors enables JMK to support you all from recruiters and payroll, through to finance, compliance and management.

With JMK as your trusted partner, even the smallest team can process the largest payroll, regardless of payroll type.

Have a look at the wide range of services our Back Office Support (BOS) or Funding can provide to you and your business, it is far more than just payroll and finance.

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