Hybrid working cyber risks-6b5cd560

Hybrid working increases cyber risk for East Midlands businesses

It has been revealed that more than half of UK businesses feel that working from home during the pandemic has left their IT systems more susceptible to cyberattacks. One in 10 firms said they have been the victim of a cyberattack in the last year, rising to one in 7 for larger firms.

The findings were published in a survey by British Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with Cisco, a world leader in the IT and cyber security industry.

Despite these revelations, four out of 5 respondents said they did not have accredited cyber security measures in place to prevent cyberattacks.

The news comes after research of a similar nature was published by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, having been commissioned by Air IT, a leading regional provider of managed IT services. In their survey, almost three-quarters of East Midlands businesses said that they would not return to the office full time after experiencing the benefits of working from home, but both the Chamber and Air IT are urging businesses to ensure that they consider cyber security measures when making such significant decisions.

Lucy Robinson, director of resources at East Midlands Chamber, said:

“Our latest research via the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey strongly points to a future of hybrid working for organisations where this is possible to do so, with 73% of East Midlands businesses saying they won’t return to the office full time post-pandemic.

“While there are many benefits from greater flexibility – including making it easier to attract and retain employees, as well as lower operating costs – this does carry a cyber security threat as employees’ personal and work lives become more blurred.

“It’s crucial that businesses put in place the right protocols to protect their organisations. This not only includes having the appropriate software and technology, but also effective communication and training, so that staff members are aware of what they must look out for and how to avoid being caught out.”

Lee Johnson, Chief Technology Officer and head of cyber security at Air IT, said:

“Over the past two years, there’s been a huge shift in the way we work and many businesses weren’t aware that this would expose them to additional cyber threats.

“The findings from our survey with East Midlands Chamber, alongside this research by BCC and Cisco, show that remote and hybrid working are here to stay. If businesses want to adapt and keep cybercriminals at bay, they must ensure that their devices are protected, their infrastructure is secure, and most importantly that their employees are vigilant about potential threats.”

Aine Rogers, Head of Small Business, 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.”