UK firms fear greater exposure to cyber attacks in wake of home-working revolution
More than half of UK firms believe that the sharp increase in home working seen as a result of the pandemic has left their IT systems exposed to a cyber attack.
According to research from the British Chambers of Commerce and IT firm Cisco, 56 per cent of the 1,000 companies they surveyed agreed that working from home has increased their exposure to cyber security threats.
This was not borne out by the other findings of the survey, however, with just one in 10 of those responding saying they had been the victim of a cyber attack in the past year. That rose to one in seven for larger firms.
Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that as the majority of workers expect to continue working from home for at least part of the week in future companies need to take action to ensure their systems are protected.
“The huge shift to home working, and the use of cloud computing, for tens of thousands of employees happened almost overnight, so it is not surprising that many firms were caught out by the implications this had for their cyber-security arrangements,” she said.
“All of the BCC’s research indicates that a shift to a more hybrid way of working, with many staff now splitting their time between the office and home, is here to stay, so it is more vital than ever that firms have the right cyber-security protections in place.
“With one in 10 firms confirming they have come under attack in the last year, the need to take action now could not be more important.”
Aine Rogers, head of small business at Cisco UK & Ireland, added that as home working means the “lines between professional and personal are more blurred than ever” businesses now need to think about protecting “the kitchen table” just as much as the office.
“As businesses and individuals, we’re more exposed than ever to security threats,” she said.
“Whether it’s fraudulent SMS campaigns, posing to be a delivery company, targeted social engineering to access the passwords for your customer database, or hacking your home network, criminals in the cyber world are cunning.
“That’s why we need to evolve thinking to focus on securing your employees and what they are doing, not where they are.”