After a suspected data breach forced Giant Umbrella to “proactively” stop its entire operations last week, the company has tried to reassure its contractors that they will be paid on time. After “suspicious activity” was identified on its network two days prior, the business issued a statement on Friday, September 24th, confirming it had temporarily halted all services and taken all of its systems offline.
According to the statement, this kind of action was done as a “measure of prudence,” however it has resulted in thousands of contractors who offer services via the business not getting paid as planned on Friday.
“We understand that getting paid in a timely way is critical, and this is a responsibility we take very seriously,” the statement added.
“We are working hard to ensure that payment schedules are disrupted as little as possible, and we will check that your payroll is back to normal as soon as feasible.”
The company acknowledged that it had processed 8,000 of the pending salary payments in a follow-up statement issued over the weekend, but there were still complaints appearing online from contractors who had not been paid as of writing.
Some of them have been published on OffPayroll.org, an anonymous contracting whistle-blower site that has received several complaints from contractors who have not been paid as a result of the problems that appear to have plagued Giant’s operations in recent days.
Many of the concerns center on the fact that all of Giant’s communication lines have been down since September 22, making it difficult for contractors to reach the company via phone or email.
One angry contractor commented, “Giant has evidently been hacked, and all [their] systems are down.” “What I don’t get is how [they] don’t have business continuity or more honest and transparent communication in place. It’s very wrong not to pay last week’s salary as a workaround.”
“Sure, getting hacked is terrible, but they should have been able to install a new solution in 12 hours max – most businesses train for situations like these,” another contractor said, expressing amazement at Giant’s lack of a disaster recovery strategy. Computer Weekly reached out to Giant for more comments on this topic but had not heard back at the time of publishing.
Giant is known for being one of the largest umbrella businesses in the market, and its parent company, Giant Group, is reported as a £218 million sales corporation with a profit before tax of £1.5 million in the year ending May 31, 2020.
The organization isn’t the only umbrella corporation that has fallen into technological difficulties that have prevented it from paying the contractors on its books; Unified Payroll, another payroll services provider, has also had issues.