Nearly half (46%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) regularly share confidential files via email, including financial and employee data in spreadsheets, according to a new study from the Lanop Accountancy Group. This is despite the fact that 60% have not upgraded their organizations’ cybersecurity capabilities since shifting to remote working during COVID-19.
In a survey of 100 company owners of SMEs based in London, UK, which focused on their security habits during the pandemic, 59% revealed they had received an increase in phishing emails since lockdown began.
Cybersecurity expert Tim Sadler, CEO of Tessian, said: “Protecting people on email has to be a priority in this new hybrid world where employees can work from anywhere. All it takes is one simple mistake or typo for sensitive and confidential files to land in the wrong inbox and for a company to suffer a significant data breach.”
SMEs also outlined IT difficulties they have faced as a result of moving to a remote working model. A quarter said they share a Zoom account with another company, and one in five have been forced to cancel a meeting due to conference systems crashing. Meanwhile, 30% reported purchasing additional laptops, mobiles and tablets to manage remote working.
In addition, one third of company owners don’t believe they have the IT systems to continue remote working for a further three months, while 28% said their staff lack the digital skills to work from home.
Lanop also found nearly half (45%) plan to increase their IT spending in the near future, while 23% will not renew their office lease beyond the crisis.
Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of Zoho Europe, added: “The COVID-19 crisis has forced the majority of business owners to quickly implement remote working systems in order to continue trading despite strict lockdown measures. For many companies, successfully managing urgent projects, team meetings and company finances online against the backdrop of economic turmoil has brought with it a myriad of delays.”
A survey published last month by Bitglass found that most organizations are not sufficiently prepared to securely support remote working, even though 84% intend to continue this practice beyond the crisis.