Businesses ever more susceptible to cyber-attacks

There has been a steep rise in cyber attacks with hackers taking advantage of record numbers of employees working remotely from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. With many UK businesses looking ever vulnerable to disruption, organisations must make doubly sure all staff are operating securely.

Data published last month by the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security found that 60% of businesses surveyed had been the victim of a cyber-attack in the past year, and that UK enterprises are at increased risk of attacks due to employees’ remote working arrangements. Additionally, 60% of IT staff felt the time it took to respond to a cyber-attack had increased due to home working. The research follows a warning from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre that cybercriminals are taking advantage of current vulnerabilities as employees work from home with reduced security and access to IT support.

Cybercrime and online security breaches affecting businesses include phishing attacks, coronavirus-linked spam emails and malware or ransomware infections. Insurance broker PolicyBee is urging business leaders to look at the ways they can support staff working from home to reduce risks and prevent these issues. At the most basic level, employers should ensure that all home working devices are kitted out with anti-malware software. Also, that staff use strong passwords unique to each of their accounts, as well as multi factor authentication when available. It’s important employees know the protocols for reporting any potential security breaches.

There’s a consensus among IT leaders that remote working arrangements set up this year are putting their support teams under pressure. Training staff in IT security skills and sharing guidance with them on how to spot and deal with phishing emails that contain bad links will reduce a business’s likelihood of being exposed to a cyber-attack. Alongside training employees to avoid the risks, businesses can take out cyber insurance to provide help in the event of an attack. Cyber insurance provides technical expertise to restore and replace systems, websites and equipment. It also covers legal costs and compensation associated with losing people’s personal information and enquiries by the regulator.

David Pitt, head of IT at PolicyBee, said: “The shift to employees working from home, sometimes put in place overnight, has exposed many businesses to cyber-attacks. Alongside the added vulnerability of remote working, businesses have been tackling a spike in malicious coronavirus-related emails, SMS, instant messages and websites, as hackers attempt to cash in on people’s interest.”

“It doesn’t have to be costly to take steps to protect your business from having data stolen, its website being taken down or files being lost. Measures can be as simple as training staff to keep all software on their computer up to date. If your business does fall victim to a cyber-attack, despite your precautions, our cyber insurance is one-size-fits-all and will reimburse any income you lose as a result. Every policy also comes with access to Hiscox’s CyberClear Academy training for your employees. This online interactive suite of cyber security training modules is designed to reduce your risk of a cyber-incident occurring. Defence is the first line of attack when it comes to cybercrime.”

Businesses with employees working remotely should prioritise taking action to protect their enterprise against the threat of cyber-attacks. In the unlucky event of falling victim to an attack, cyber insurance is your reliable back-up.

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