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Fears of cyberattacks increase amid remote work arrangements: report

As more companies shift back to remote operations, worries over cyberattacks rise, with over a half of firms believing that their exposure to potential threats has increased, according to the latest report.

British Chambers of Commerce (BBC), jointly with IT company Cisco, carried out a survey involving 1000 UK businesses to learn about their cybersecurity stance. Out of the surveyed companies, 41% operate in the manufacturing sector, 28% were B2C service businesses, and 31% were B2B service companies.

According to the survey’s results, every tenth firm has fallen victim to a cyberattack last year - or every seventh for companies with more than 50 workers.

Despite those worrying results, only every one in five surveyed companies has implemented accredited cybersecurity measures - 34% of large firms and only 12% of small businesses.

“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,” Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, commented.

Overall, more than 50% of the respondents are convinced that they are now more exposed to online threats because of remote work, with 10% “strongly agreeing,” 45% “somewhat agreeing,” 18% “strongly disagreeing,” and 6% “strongly disagreeing.” Interestingly, 20% of the companies also indicated that they have not switched their mode of operations to “work from home.”

Maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture

With the Omicron variant surging around the globe, it is unlikely that businesses will entirely go back to “face to face” work any time soon. Aine Rogers, Head of Small Business at Cisco UK & Ireland, believes that organizations should shift their focus and start accepting - and adapting to the new environment.

“The lines between professional and personal are more blurred than ever. Organisations are no longer just protecting an ‘office’ but a workforce at the kitchen table. 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,” Rogers said.

Now more than ever, it is vital to remember that prevention is better than cure and invest in robust cybersecurity, including a VPN, antivirus, and employee training.

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