For almost 15 months, the UK has been gripped by the covid pandemic which has had unprecedented impact on our personal and working lives.
Prior to the crisis businesses were doing OK in the main, with the most pressing concern being what the Brexit fallout would look like.
However, from the first lockdown in March 2020 things suddenly changed as the coronavirus crisis turned things upside down for many businesses – almost overnight.
Many retailers were forced to put the shutters up as the country struggled to keep the virus in check, for many retailers this meant switching more to online selling.
Although online retail is a lower cost method of selling compared with physical bricks and mortar premises, it does come with added risks – mainly at the hands of the online criminal fraternity.
It wasn’t just retailers that were open to greater risk, many offices had no choice but to allow their employees to work from home – and this provided a brand new opportunity for cyber criminals, hungry to exploit any weaknesses and capture valuable data.
The IT departments of companies across the UK were caught on the hop, faced with having to radically change their approach to systems and data protection almost overnight.
When employees can work remotely, putting up cybersecurity measures becomes more challenging and external providers with unrivalled knowledge of how to effectively manage digital threats were suddenly in great demand.
While remote working gave workers the ability to continue working whilst abiding by the country wide lockdown, the lines between personal and professional lives were in some cases becoming blurred.
It became essential for businesses to mitigate risks that could potentially arise from their employee’s online behaviour.
And while threats to cyber security during remote can come in many different forms, there are two areas that seem to be most prevalent in the current ‘Work from Home’ set up in the UK:
Firstly, there has been a spike in phishing scams that attempt to exploit our concerns about many aspects relating to the COVID-19 virus, preying on staff who are out of their comfort zone and vulnerable to sophisticated cybercrime.
Secondly, cyber gangs realised that many offices will not have been ready to introduce homeworking networks that were secure enough for this day and age and this insecure or outdated infrastructure left them open to abuse.
There are some steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of these threats, the main one being to recognise that user error plays a large part in many cyber-attacks.
In fact the 2019 Kaspersky Security Awareness Report reported that human error is involved in over 80% of security incidents.
However, with the right professional support from cyber protection and data protection specialists these security gaps can be plugged, and new secure working practices rolled out across the remote workforce.
With our workers having been thrust onto the front line, if they are given the most secure infrastructure and training on best practices, they can end up being a strong line of defense and able to help the company keep cyber-attack at bay.