Homeworking increases cybersecurity risks, report warns

14 October 2020, 11:14

Working from home
Working from home. Picture: PA

It says many companies’ IT departments do not have the funding to adequately protect remote workers.

UK businesses are more at risk from cyber attacks because of challenges posed by large-scale remote working, new research has warned.

A report by the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security found 60% of those surveyed said their organisation had been hit by a cyber attack.

Of those, almost a third (32%) said the attacks were caused by compromised or stolen devices, while 57% said they feel their current IT security budget is inadequate for managing the cybersecurity risks that come with staff working from home.

The report, which includes a survey of more than 2,000 IT and IT security staff, also found 60% believe the time it takes to respond to a cyber attack has increased because of remote working.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has previously warned cybercriminals are looking to take advantage of the current circumstances and fear around the coronavirus pandemic to carry out attacks on organisations.

The research suggests that without IT staff close at hand to monitor organisations for cyber risks, it could make businesses more vulnerable to attacks such as phishing or those which involve social engineering.

Those surveyed also raised concerns over the lack of physical security around devices away from the office, with 48% of those asked saying they believe this is a real fear, while 38% said they are concerned about devices being infected by malware while staff work from home.

The report added many survey participants have concerns about staff accessing critical, sensitive and proprietary information remotely.

Darren Guccione, founder and chief executive of Keeper Security, said: “The findings revealed today present a worrisome picture of the state of online safety for businesses across the UK and Europe.

“As we enter a prolonged period of remote working, it is critical that businesses feel sufficiently protected from possible cyberattacks. IT security systems are not keeping up with the demands of the new way we work.

Person on laptop
The report warns businesses with staff working remotely are more vulnerable to cyber attacks (PA)

“We commission this annual research with the Ponemon Institute because it is imperative that organisations turn this cybersecurity epidemic around.

“We need to ensure all businesses wake up to the realities of working during this pandemic and prioritise investing in a strong, reliable cybersecurity infrastructure.”

Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder at the Ponemon Institute, added: “Covid-19 and widespread remote working has provided cybercriminals with a new means to attack businesses with greater levels of intensity and frequency.

“Cybersecurity in the Remote Work: A Global Risk Report highlights how cyberattacks on businesses across the UK and Europe are at risk in the era of remote working and should be making this a top priority and installing the most protective software out there.”

By Press Association

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