Many SMBs admit they are getting lazy with cybersecurity

man working on a laptop
(Image credit: Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash)

Many small business workers admit to having dropped their cybersecurity guard since starting to working from home, putting both themselves, and their organizations, at risk of cybersecurity incidents.

The situation would have been a lot better, though, had SMBs been a bit more up-front about what needed to be done, claims The Mobile Workforce Report 2021, a new research paper from Avast. 

Surveying 500 IT decision-makers in the UK and 500 in Germany, as well as 1000 SMB workers in the UK and 1000 in Germany, the company found more than a quarter of employees (27%) admitted to being more lax with IT security since going home to work. 

Employees are not the only ones to blame

What’s more, another quarter (24%) intentionally worked around IT security guidance to get their work done. 

This “working around” security guidance usually means sending sensitive data to colleagues through unvetted channels, taking business calls with non-employees in the room, leaving sensitive business documents out in the open, or knowing their home network was compromised and still using it for work. All of this leaves plenty of room for devices and networks to be compromised with malware or ransomware.

“Employees who lack cyber smarts are unknowingly putting their business and its customers at risk,” commented Marc Botham, VP Worldwide Channel & Alliances at Avast. 

“Part of empowering employees to be productive and successful in their jobs is giving them the knowledge to do their jobs securely. In providing good cyber security education for teams, SMBs can give employees the digital freedom to do their jobs without concern, something that ultimately results in better successes for the business.”

But laying the blame solely on employees would be wrong, Avast further said, as just two-thirds (64%) said their firms provided IT security guidelines for remote workers. Furthermore, just above half (58%) were instructed how to handle company secrets, with a similar percentage (57%) getting IT security training for working from home. 

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.