Close to one in three small businesses don’t have a cybersecurity strategy in place. With remote working on the rise, this is the time to invest in keeping your teams safe from the crippling cost of dealing with an attack. A new Cybersecurity for SMEs report from Vodafone and Entrepreneurial Britain explains how.

The threat of Covid-19 has kept most of us home for the past 18 months. While this may have kept us safe from the virus, it may also have left us vulnerable to a number of cybersecurity risks. With more people working from home than ever before with little-to-no notice, SMEs are now open to targeted phishing attacks, fraud and data breaches. 

Cyber attacks are already costing the UK £34bn a year, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable, at a time when economic recovery alone has become a challenge. A new report from Entrepreneurial Britain and Vodafone examined the state of cybersecurity preparedness among SMEs and what you can do to protect your business from online threats.

It found that a cyberattack, estimated to cost £3,230, would destroy the average small business today. 

Remote working: Vulnerabilities

Since March 2020, with the world on various iterations of lockdown, technology has taken center stage in both our working and personal lives.  Despite this spike in demand for technology, particularly cloud-based services, teleconferencing, and email, many businesses have done very little to provide a ’cyber-safe’ remote-working environment for their staff. 

Consider this: one in two people fall for a phishing scam while working at home. The more your team works from home, the greater the exposure to cyber risk.

Cybercriminals have honed their craft during the pandemic, and are using this time when people and businesses are fragmented, and possibly scrambling for business survival, as an opportunity for exploitation. Employees working from home have a vested interest in coronavirus-related news, for example, which is an area where cyber-attackers have been creating and spreading malicious fake coronavirus ‘news’ websites to con people into downloading malware or parting with their data.

According to the City of London Police, since January 2020 more than £11 million has been lost due to COVID-19 scams

In addition to threats on work devices and work accounts, another cause for concern for small businesses is new forms of attack targetting video conferencing. According to Deloitte, between February 2020 and May 2020, more than half a million video conferencing users’ personal data was stolen and sold on the dark web using a tool called ‘OpenBullet’. This kind of attack can put your individual employees at risk, as well as causing severe disruption to your business, if you rely on teleconferencing for daily operations. .

Top cyber threats and why they occur

The global cyber threat landscape is complex and varied. The pandemic has given a lot of cyber attackers the opportunity to exploit pre-existing vulnerabilities. Four top issues facing small businesses today are:

  • Working from home with less technical blocks allows malicious employees to defraud the company
  • Naive or technologically backward employees may fall for fraud emails asking for personal data or money transfers
  • Cybercriminals are aware that employees working from home may not have robust firewalls and other protective measures in place
  • Amateur hackers, known as ‘script kiddies’ are testing out their skills on small businesses, causing massive damage in the process

The final decision to click the link, send the sensitive information or download the file, lies with the user. But by ensuring that a strong and secure cybersecurity culture is instilled from the top of the business to the bottom, company assets can be kept safe, and the risk of successful cyber attacks can be reduced. To find out how to keep your teams informed and vigilant, download the Cybersecurity for SMEs in association with Vodafone report.