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Remote Work in the Covid-19 Era: Cyber Risks Rise for Small Businesses as Security Budgets Dwindle

April 13, 2020 By BlueAlly

By Filip Truta on Apr 13, 2020

Business owners are concerned that remote working will lead to more cyberattacks. Ironically, though, nearly 40% of small business owners feel that economic uncertainty will prevent them from making necessary cybersecurity investments to prevent the very cyber incidents they fear.

The overnight move to a “virtual workplace” has increased cybersecurity concerns for small business owners, but many have not yet implemented remote working policies to address cybersecurity threats, according to a new survey commissioned by the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI).

Stay-at-home orders for more than 40 states have forced millions of businesses across the U.S. to establish remote workforces that rely on Internet-enabled applications and products to conduct business. However, history has shown that remote work can lead to serious breaches of security.

The survey of 412 small business owners contacted from March 25-27 found that half of are concerned remote working will lead to a surge in cyber incidents. At the same time, those business owners say their hands are tied, with four in 10 admitting that economic uncertainty prevents them from digging into their pockets to make the necessary investments required to prevent these looming incidents.

For companies with fewer than 20 employees, it’s even worse.These organizations are “distinctly unprepared” for remote working, researchers said, with only 22% providing additional cybersecurity training prior to enabling remote working and just 33% providing any cybersecurity training at all.

These findings echo the results of a similar survey conducted by Bitdefender last year which found that organizations that emphasize training are better at detecting attacks quickly, and more efficient at isolating them.

“Now, more than ever cybersecurity affects the ‘business’ of nearly every company, not just in the U.S. but internationally,” said Kiersten Todt, managing director of CRI. “These are extremely challenging times for companies, especially small businesses, as revenue and resources are as unpredictable as they have ever been. However, cybersecurity investments aren’t always tied to dollars and cents. Several free tools, that focus on human behavior, offer important guidance on helping small businesses become more cyber ready. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by doing the basics like washing your hands. Similarly, the cyber hygiene basics will go a long way in keeping small businesses resilient in this time of increased threats.”

The CRI has outlined basic steps that every organization can take to secure their remote workforce,such as using secure passwords, ensuring that all operating systems are up to date, and understanding the tricks used by bad actors to dupe remote workers into divulging their access credentials.

Bitdefender Small Office Security offers next-gen protection for small businesses, including for Windows, Android, macOS or iOS devices. Customers get support from our engineers who are on call 24/7 and easy to reach by email, phone or chat whenever you or your team needs help. Furthermore, lost or stolen devices can be reported and locked in the middle of the night, while any performance issues can be ironed out before your day starts.