Risky Remote Work Behavior Reigns as 46% SMEs Admit to Sharing Confidential Files via Email


SMEs are facing security issues either due to the lack of IT systems or skilled labor to operate remotely

It is no surprise that remote work will continue well after government-imposed lockdowns, especially when its benefits have been seen first-hand. But what will remain risky is ensuring cybersecurity for remote workers. The sudden transition to remote work has led small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to adopt a range of tools to enable it, but some of these tools and practices are not safe.

This has been affirmed by a Lanop Accountancy Group survey in the U.K., who quizzed 100 small and medium enterprise (SME) owners in London about their remote work security during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Survey Findings Expose Remote Workers’ Vulnerability to Data Breaches

  • 46% confessed to sharing confidential files, including financial and personal data contained in spreadsheets, with their colleagues since the transition to work from home.
  • 60% of SME owners reported that they have not upgraded company security since shifting to remote working.
  • 59% reported an increase in email phishing cyberattacks since the transition to remote work.
  • Almost 33% of company owners claimed they lack the IT systems to operate remotely for a further three months, and 28% said that their staff is not skilled to operate remotely.

These are critical findings, because they reveal just how vulnerable sensitive business and employee data is to a breach. Cybersecurity expert Tim Sadler, CEO, Tessian, commented, “All it takes is one simple mistake or typo for sensitive and confidential files to land in the wrong inbox and for a company to suffer a significant data breach.”

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With 23% survey respondents stating that they have no intention to renew their office lease post the crisis, it is likely that this risky remote work behavior is will continue into the future of workOpens a new window until strict tools are deployed and appropriate training is delivered by HR on cybersecurityOpens a new window .

On the bright side, SMEs seem to be aware of the importance of advanced cybersecurity as 45% of company owners plan to increase their IT spending in near future. SMEs require affordable solutions with secure options to manage critical company and employee data.

As Sadler asserts, “Policies and training help, but security solutions that understand employee behaviors and alert individuals to risks are invaluable to data loss prevention methods in the new normal.”

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