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Blackhawk Intelligence
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Blackhawk offers business information and commercial investigation services
Blackhawk offers business information and commercial investigation services

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Thinking about data protection and privacy. We show how vulnerable small as well as larger businesses are to cyber crime. What can companies do to ward off hackers and what happens if they do get into  your system?
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According to a recent IBM survey carried out by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of data breaches per company across 40 major UK companies in 12 business sectors was £2.21m in 2014. Once a company system was breached, evidence suggested fewer customers stayed loyal, particularly in financial services. It also showed that human negligence accounted for the most data breaches at 40%, malicious/criminal attacks (37%), and system glitches (23%.
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Over the past decade, any number of scams have come to light, requiring years of painstaking investigation and unravelling by agencies such as Blackhawk before the fraudsters often, though not always, end up in court.
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Like many, you’re probably reading about the unfolding events surrounding possible graft, bribery and corruption within the ‘beautiful game’s’ governing body, FIFA. Is this going to turn out to be Football’s very own equivalent to the Banks ‘Libor’ scandal? We can only wait and watch. However, there are very likely solid lessons multinational businesses can learn from the fall-out that will undoubtedly follow. Part of this will be in how internal checks and balances in large organisations fail. Here are some thoughts that might ring true with your business.
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Financial fraud has become such a science that once you suspect it is happening in your company, you are advised to call on the help of an investigation agency like Blackhawk, a specialist in the latest computer forensic accountancy and IT techniques needed to keep pace with and track down ever more sophisticated criminals.
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How due diligence specialists can save you millions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are a risk for the buyer, whatever the size of their company. It beggars the question: why don’t businesses make due diligence a priority when they first dream their dream of expansion? In 1998, for instance, Volkswagen bought Rolls Royce and Bentley assets for around $900m and merely failed to notice that BMW held the rights to use the Rolls Royce name – not VW, who then sold it on to BMW four years later. The world of M&As is so full of examples like this that it’s surprising so many people dare to enter it – and yet, if you want to expand, a successful M&A is often the only way to meet that goal. 
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Mergers acquisitions and the crucial role of due diligence

No self-respecting entrepreneur accepts a 40% failure rate in their business. But that surprisingly has been the average failure rate of mergers & acquisitions (M&A) across the globe for the past 10 years, according to a report by the London-based consultancy, Beyond The Deal. Any business incurs risks but rarely more so than when it undertakes an M&A, many of which require ‘forensic’ due diligence before it is safe to go ahead – if at all. Leave problems undiscovered or unresolved and you can say goodbye to copious amounts of money and time, see your reputation dwindle, and even lose your business. 
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We’re sloppy, complacent and need forensic support

We have become a nation of sloppy computer users with a growing need for IT forensics to mop up the mess of security breaches left in our wake.

Research has shown, for instance, that UK citizens have been using on average just five passwords for an estimated 26 online accounts, and 25% are using just one for most of them. The average number of accounts for the 25 to 34 age group is a staggering 40, ranging from fuel companies to banks to magazine subscriptions and online shopping. That was in 2012 – what‘s it like now?

PCs, tablets, laptops, mobiles... they are now all integral to our lifestyle at home and at work. Just as we used to rely on our office phone to make non-work-related calls, now we don’t think twice about emailing, social networking and maybe even Skyping on our office computer. And yet we forget it is primarily a work machine – the more we use it for non-work reasons, the more opportunities for hackers or misguided employees to exploit security loopholes... like excessive use of our favourite password!
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How Blackhawk forensics can make a difference

You’ve gone through the heartache of trying to dismiss that nagging feeling about a trusted colleague, supplier or outside associate – you have to know one way or the other and so through your lawyer (in 80% of cases) you have contacted Blackhawk’s IT forensics team. What comes next?

Forensic experts gives you various choices… either they’ll say your fears are misplaced and you’ll sigh with relief … or they’ll find some evidence of wrong-doing but not enough to convince a court (but maybe enough to justify internal disciplinary measures, redundancies and reorganisation)… or they’ll reveal full-blown fraud with sufficient evidence to make it worth going to court.

First of all, an agency has to act fast. Any delay and word can get out, with anyone under suspicion likely to go straight to their keyboard and attempt to tamper with or delete any incriminating evidence. And this can only mean more delays until deleted items are tracked down and reinstated . . . 
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HOW TO STOP STAFF RIPPING OFF YOUR BUSINESS

Did you know that just under half of any fraud committed at work last year was down to your workmates? Internal fraud is a constant thorn in the side of whatever size of business and often starts when unsuitable job applicants doctor their CVs and get taken on under false pretences. Background checks are often cursory, at best.

Take short cuts when recruiting and you may pay for it later in further fraud, poor performance, and all that entails. True, it’s hard to read between the lines at interview stage, but time taken to check on a candidate’s qualifications, references and performance indicators such as absenteeism, loyalty and trustworthiness can win dividends later. But recruitment is only one way to stem the increase in staff fraud. It’s a war companies have to win and  most can’t do it on their own . . .

Read more to find out how to beat the fraudsters . . .
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