A “concerning” skills gap and working from home is leading to a bigger threat of cyber attacks for north-east businesses according to a new report.
A survey by Westhill-based IT Hotdesk found 72% of businesses who rely on
internal staff who are not IT specialists have reported they have been a victim
of a cyber-attack.
And despite a huge increase in the amount of people working from home, only 25% have invested in staff training the past year.
IT Hotdesk managing director Gordon Christie, who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, described the current skills gap within the north-east as “concerning”, particularly the lack of care around employee working from home procedures.
Human error increases threat
Unmanaged mobile devices, insecure home wifi and networks all increase the likelihood of a cybercriminal successfully infiltrating an IT system.
Mr Christie said: “According to research, only 25% of businesses have invested in staff training over the last 12 months, yet it is no secret that the most common cause of data breach is human error.
“This week, we’ve seen Arnold Clark in the press due to a cyber attack, which left tens of thousands of customers’ data at risk.
“The cost of a data leak can significantly impact a business, through time offline, any financial repercussions, and reputational damage – so it is important that businesses take it seriously.”
More needs done
The cyber security survey focused on the processes, procedures, and training of businesses across the north and north-east.
It highlighted 78% of respondents felt that their businesses could do more to improve the safety of their business.
Recently tens of thousands of motorists were warned they could be at risk of identity theft and online fraud after one of Britain’s biggest car dealers, Arnold Clark, was hit by a major cyber attack.
Arnold Clark customers have had information including addresses, passports and national insurance numbers leaked on the dark web by a criminal gang.
In July 2020, a cyber attack caused a data security incident at both Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University.
The two institutions were among those affected by the hacking of software supplier Blackbaud.
Four out of five senior managers (82%) see cyber security as a “very high” or “fairly high priority”, with 54% admitting that their IT departments are not sophisticated enough to handle advanced cyberattacks.
WFH brings risks
More and more employers are offering hybrid working with more days spent working from home than in the office.
Almost 50% of respondents split their time between working in the office and at home, but 72% of businesses do not have any policy in place to support this.
Mr Christie continued: “As a business owner myself, I understand that budgets can be tight, but investing in a robust cyber security strategy can save you money in the long run.
“We’ve known for a while that businesses need to do more to protect themselves, but the survey results have highlighted that it is worse than we initially thought.
“Something has to change, or we will see an increase of businesses impacted.”
IT Hotdesk has created a Business Insight campaign which is a series of free educational materials such as webinars, checklists and educational blogs, designed to help businesses with limited IT budgets.