SMBs face a spike in security risks as remote working endures, report indicates

clock • 3 min read
SMBs face a spike in security risks as remote working endures, report indicates

Ahead of our US MSP event this Thursday - CPI Inside Track - Webroot shares its insights on where the North American security market is headed next

For almost every business, the last twelve months have been shaped by a rapid shift to remote working.

For small and medium businesses (SMBs), this change has been particularly significant. Often lacking the necessary IT and security professionals to ensure the move away from office working is both seamless and secure, these businesses have faced several hurdles when it comes to application and cloud security.

In fact, research by CPI sister site CRN, in collaboration with Webroot, has revealed that managed service provider (MSP) customers have a number of pressing security concerns.  

This research, focused on organisations with fewer than 1,000 employees, examines the challenges SMBs are currently facing, and explores how organisations can improve their cyber resilience in the new working environment.

The rise of remote

Following the rapid escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic at the start of 2020, many SMBs were forced to adapt quickly to a new way of working. When surveyed, 46 per cent said that remote working was rolled out at a bit of a faster pace than they would have liked.

A combination of device-sharing, the distractions that comes with working from home, and the need for swift cloud migration has resulted in security dilemmas that many SMBs do not have the resources to tackle alone, creating an ideal environment for cyber criminals to flourish.

61% of participants believe that risks to their organisations have increased either moderately or severely as a result of remote working, with an additional 31 per cent reporting a marginal increase in risk. With the majority of organisations indicating that they intend to continue with some form of remote working post-pandemic, these risks are unlikely to disappear any time soon.

Cyber resilience

Another important aspect of an organisation's cyber security strategy is its cyber resilience: the extent to which a business can recover from a cyber attack. When asked where they considered their employers to be on a scale from 1-9 when it comes to cyber resilience, the mean average answer from respondents was just less than seven.

However, they identified a lack of awareness of cyber security among employees, the security of unknown endpoints, and skills shortages as posing the biggest challenges to cyber resilience. 

Furthermore, 32 per cent said that they struggled to access their endpoint monitoring system remotely, with just 38 per cent having implemented a Zero Trust security model.

While a move away from conventional office working has brought with it a host of opportunities, SMBs are currently facing security challenges on an unprecedented scale, with existing security risks exacerbated by the move to remote working.

In this context, distributed cyber security, in which the necessary tools are accessible from any location, is more important than ever. Therefore MSPs have a key role to play in not only keeping SMBs afloat, but in helping them boost their cyber resilience.

Webroot's full report can be read here.

Webroot is a sponsor of Channel Partner Insight Inside Track US.

The half day event on Thursday 22 April - which will also have three themed editorial panel discussions - can be accessed here, live and on demand after the 22nd.

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