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UK Contractors Left in the Dark Following Parasol data breach

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Contractors working for the Parasol umbrella company are currently questioning why the details of a suspected ransomware attack that took place five weeks ago are still yet to come to light.

In January 2022, an attack against Parasol prompted the company to disable and remove its customer-facing systems, leading to widespread disruption to the payday cycles of thousands of contractors operating in the UK.

Following this, Parasol’s parent company Optionis Group also confirmed in an email to said contractors that its IT security team had uncovered evidence that “some data” had been copied and subsequently leaked online. In addition to this, the precise nature of the information that was exposed could not be confirmed in the email, which was signed by Optionis CEO Doug Crawford.

No further details about the amount or type of data compromised in the breach have been released by Optionis. It is also not clear exactly how many contractors have been affected by the incident.

An umbrella market source has outlined just how serious the data breach is, especially as it still isn’t clear just how deep the issue runs.

The source said: “Within Optionis, you’ve got an umbrella company and several accountancy firms, so the amount of personal data they sit on will be absolutely phenomenal.

“You’re talking about names, phone numbers and email addresses [for their contractors], but they’re also going to have bank details.

“It’s a pretty phenomenal treasure trove of data that is potentially at stake here, and the million dollar question is how much of that has been exposed.”

The umbrella source also pointed out the fact that several of the Optionis Group brands also specialise in the provision of accountancy and tax advisory services to limited company contractors. This means that the company is liable to have company accounts and tax returns in its possession, which may have been breached.

If you have reason to believe that your data has been exposed in the Parasol data breach, or you have been directly contacted by the company to confirm that this is the case, you will likely have grounds to make a claim for compensation.

The team at Hayes Connor are ready to advise and support anyone who has been affected by the Parasol data breach. To find out more about how you can make a claim, please get in touch.

What to do if you are concerned about the Parasol data breach

If your data was exposed in the Parasol data breach, the company is legally obligated to inform you that this is the case. However, if you have any concerns that your data was exposed and you are yet to hear from Parasol, then you should get in touch with them as soon as possible.

It is imperative that you remain vigilant of any unexpected communications, such as emails or text messages. You should be especially wary of anything that appears to have come from someone claiming to represent Parasol. These could be ‘phishing’ attacks that are designed to extract further information from you.

There are various ways you can reduce the risk of cybercriminals using your personal data against you. For more, please read our helpful guide on what to do if your data has been stolen in a data breach.

If your data has been exposed in the Parasol data breach, you may be eligible to claim compensation. This is something the team at Hayes Connor can help you with.

How Hayes Connor can help you claim compensation for the Parasol data breach

Organisations that hold your personal data are legally obligated to keep it secure and out of the hands of any unauthorised third parties. Failing to uphold this obligation, for whatever reason, can often lead to further action being taken, with affected individuals being in a position to make a compensation claim.

Hayes Connor has one of the largest dedicated teams of data breach specialists in the country. We have a wealth of combined expertise in handling claims, and, as such, we are well placed to guide you through the steps you need to take to bring forward a claim.

We can discuss your personal situation at length and work together to determine whether you are owed compensation, how much you could be entitled to and how the general claims process works.

We understand how stressful and worrying it can be to lose your personal data. That is why we also make sure to provide you with close personal support during the claims process, as well as make sure that everything is kept as straightforward as possible.

You can find out more about our expertise and how we handle data breach claims here.

To start a claim, you can use our online claim form.

To speak to a member of our team about the Parasol breach, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0330 041 5130.