Rise in work from home heightens risk of cyber attacks for firms

A new survey of almost 1,000 UK firms, from all sectors and sizes, has revealed that more than half believe their IT systems  have been left more exposed to attack following the huge increase in people working from home  during the pandemic.

The research by the British Chambers of Commerce and IT company, Cisco, also found that one in 10 firms said they had been the victim of a cyber-attack in the last year, rising to more than  one in seven for larger firms.

Yet despite this, four out of five firms said they did not currently have accredited cyber-security measures in place to protect against attacks.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC, said: “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.

“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, said: “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.

“As businesses and individuals, we’re more exposed than ever to security threats. 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.”

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