Remote work exposing SMEs to increased cybersecurity risk

Remote working is leading to increased cybersecurity risks for SMEs, a research from ServerChoice shows.

The research, conducted with 1,000 business leaders at SMEs, found that changes in working patterns are resulting in infrastructure being left unmonitored and business data being rendered more vulnerable to exploitation.

SMEs see remote work as an increased risk to their business
Lockdowns and the pandemic have induced new working patterns, meaning that many technical staff at SMEs are now based remotely. As a result, 77% of SMEs see remote working as an increased risk to their business.

The cause behind this heightened risk is due to a lack of access to business infrastructure – the research discovered that 66% of SMEs now find it harder to monitor their infrastructure, while 25% have opted to leave infrastructure unmonitored altogether, posing a large risk if they should fall victim to a cyber-attack in future.

It is clear that while remote working is convenient for many, the increased distance between technical staff and their infrastructure, and the subsequent delay time in maintenance and disaster response, presents an ideal opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

Some industries are more at risk than others
The essential services that the education, healthcare, and financial industries provide mean that businesses in these industries are regular targets of cybercriminals as their data is vital for day-to-day operations. In retail, many SME vendors are still adapting to the increase in online transactions brought about by the pandemic, making them more susceptible to breaches of security too.

As a result, these industries need to ensure their infrastructure is regularly monitored and maintained, to avoid being compromised by malicious actors. However, despite the pressure these industries are under, the research reveals many SME leaders in different sectors are still leaving infrastructure unmonitored. The findings show:

– The healthcare industry has been impacted most by remote working, with 89% of healthcare leaders stating that remote working has added extra risk for their infrastructure.
– Manufacturing has been the least impacted, with 29% of leaders saying that there has been no effect on infrastructure risk as a result of remote working.
– Despite believing that there is an increased risk brought on by flexible working practices, 1 in 5 retail and education SMEs still leave their infrastructure unmonitored. 16% of healthcare businesses and 18% of financial services businesses also do the same.


Remote work, cybersecurity risk

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(2021) Remote work exposing SMEs to increased cybersecurity risk. Recovered on 28 October 2021