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Hybrid Working ‘Increases Cyber Security Risk’

By 18th October 2021November 1st, 2021Blog3 min read

Just over two thirds of firms believe that using hybrid working instead of having all staff in the office is posing a threat to their cyber security, according to a new survey.

The study by cyber security firm Arctic Wolf found that 67 per cent of bosses believe that their companies face higher risks if staff are working remotely all or part of the time. Moreover, the reality of the threat is most apparent to the 31 per cent of businesses who have lost money because of security breaches over the past year, with sums ranging from £36,000 to £216,000.

With companies being encouraged to carry on using remote working to reduce office contacts as winter looms and Covid still circulates, the dangers revealed in the survey are likely to continue. While there are obvious health risks if staff have to come in and work in an indoors office over winter, there is clearly a threat level to remote working that requires its own response.

The survey noted that despite the dangers, 39 per cent of firms did not have cybersecurity insurance in place and 40 per cent would be willing to pay up to five figures to a ransomware attacker to end a denial-of-service attack.

Given the expense this would involve, it would make more sense to use high-calibre IT support and services to implement and maintain the latest and most effective systems of security.

Indeed, with 35 per cent of those surveyed saying the kind of attack they fear most is ransomware and 20 per cent admitting to settling a demand in secret to avoid damage to their reputation, both the awareness of the threat and the potential it has to harm a company’s good name provide all the justification anyone could need to have the best IT security in place.

Field chief security officer at Arctic Wolf Ian McShane said: “The constant reports of successful ransomware attacks and growing cyber threats from foreign adversaries over the past year have left executives feeling ill-prepared to protect their businesses against sophisticated attacks.”

He added that the challenges of hybrid working have “compounded” this fear, but stated that with the right security operations they can still maintain high levels of security while using hybrid work patterns.

The survey by Arctic Wolf is not the only recent publication to draw attention to the issue of maintaining cyber security in a post-pandemic hybrid working environment.

A study by Omdia on the future of work has found that all around the world, not just in Britain, firms are considering the same question.

It found that the two top priorities for firms are cyber security – which was named by 58 per cent of business leaders – and hybrid working on 55 per cent. The majority are now keen to use hybrid working as a new norm, believing that its benefits include greater productivity, so these two issues will be sure to form significant overlaps for a long time to come.

The British government has now acknowledged this change by altering the rules for remote working supervisors originally set out in the 2017 crime contract and the 2018 civil contract.

From November 1st they will no longer be required to be in the office during work hours, but will need to be accessible.