Research undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and technology giant Cisco of almost 1,000 businesses has found that over half believe that the rise in remote and hybrid working has left their IT infrastructure and systems more exposed to attacks from hackers.
Digital Information World reports that the research has revealed that, in the last 12 months, one in 10 companies had experienced a cyberattack, and that figure rose to one in seven for larger firms with 50 or more employees.
Despite this, four out of five managements admitted that they still did not have accredited cybersecurity measures in place.
Hybrid working opened the window to cybercrime
The director-general of the BCC, Shevaun Haviland, said that the massive shift to working remotely and the use of cloud computing for tens of thousands of workers happened almost overnight, meaning it is not that surprising that many firms were caught out by the implications it had for cybersecurity.
“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,” she said.
Haviland added that with one in 10 businesses confirming that had experienced a cyberattack in the last year, it ‘could not be more important’ for them to take action now.
Cyber-safety on the move
Aine Rogers, the head of small business at Cisco UK & Ireland, said the lines between professional and personal had become more blurred than ever because of workplace changes brought about by the pandemic.
She said that organisations are no longer simply protecting an ‘office’, but a ‘workforce at the kitchen table’, and that businesses and individuals are all exposed to security threats more than ever.
“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.”
Rogers said that this is why there needs to be evolved thinking that focuses on securing employees and what they are doing, instead of where they are.
Hybrid working here to stay
Research this month by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and labour market analysts Emsi Burning Glass showed that a quarter of UK jobs advertised in December mentioned hybrid or flexible working.
Insurance firm Zurich introduced flexible working for all employees in 2019, in a bid to encourage more women to apply for senior roles, and has now urged the government to change the law so that all large companies make every role available on a part-time, job-share, or flexible basis, where possible due to the nature of the role and business.
Zurich’s director of HR, Steve Collinson said that the firm had seen a ‘very strong demand’ for flexibility from employees and candidates.
He said that there are over one million unfilled vacancies in the UK, adding that “if employers don’t have flexibility, then we’re missing out on whole swathes of potential candidates.”
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