September 30, 2019
Remote Workers Pose Huge Cyber Liability Threat
There are benefits to working from home, but also risks to both employees and employers.
Working from home among non-self-employed people has grown by 140 percent since 2005 — ten times faster than growth of the workforce itself. There are plenty of benefits to both workers and employers when employees get online to work remotely. But there are also plenty of risks.
Especially when the gateways used to connect to company platforms are acquired via Wi-Fi in coffee shops and airport terminals.
83 percent of business owners give employees the option to work securely from remote locations when needed and appropriate, according to Nationwide Insurance’s fifth annual Business Owner Survey. Among young business owners (ages 18-34), this number jumps up to 95 percent.
The potential damage from cyber threats requires businesses to be ever vigilant in implementing and constantly updating a comprehensive cyber security program. However, according to the Nationwide survey, only 50 percent of small business owners have updated their remote work security policy in the past year.
“What may seem like a harmless public Wi-Fi network could ultimately pose serious troubles for a business,” says Catherine Rudow, vice president of cyber insurance at Nationwide. “Many employees may not realize the magnitude of risk associated with a cyberattack as they may not have engaged in a formal training process. The scary truth is that many small business owners, even if they are aware of these risks, have not implemented all the proper measures of protection.”
Remote employees place businesses at risk, yet many small business owners are not properly mitigating potential cyberthreats, nor are they adequately protecting their employee platforms, says the Nationwide report. Failing to continually revise remote work policies in the growing digital workplace could put those business owners at higher risk of a cyber-attack.
The survey found that one in five small business owners have not committed their employees to formal cybersecurity training.
According to the survey:
- 65 percent of business owners admit they have been victim of a cyberattack; computer virus attacks are the top type of attack reported at 33 percent, phishing is number two at 29 percent.
- 86 percent of business owners believe that digital risk will continue to grow.
- 30 percent of companies with 11-50 employees do not provide any type of formal training on cybersecurity.
- Despite the simplicity of regularly updating software, seven percent of companies still fail to take that step.
- Reputational risk is among the top reasons (45 percent) why business owners would consider investing in or purchasing a cybersecurity policy.
- 35 percent of business owners who have never experienced a cyberattack are unaware of the financial cost to recover, highlighting a dangerous gap in knowledge from the implications.
- Only four percent of business owners have implemented all of the cybersecurity best practices and recommendations from the U.S. Small Business Administration.