The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has triggered the greatest upheaval of modern life in generations. In response to the pandemic, governments have enforced lockdowns to place limitations on our movement and reduce the risk of infection. Many businesses have been forced to swiftly transition to remote working models as a result. Such rapid change has created a wealth of new opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities in a company’s cyber defence system. Whilst this move is challenging for organisations of all sizes, SMEs are particularly exposed as only 46 per cent report having a formal cyber security policy in place. At this time of heightened risk, it is crucial that cyber security is front of mind for businesses of all sizes and they take steps to protect their cyber health.
Risks of going remote
Whilst remote working has been a necessary measure in the fight against COVID-19, it has denuded several layers of security normally provided by the office environment. Many employees are now working across multiple devices, including personal ones connected to shared networks. They have become reliant on video conferencing and collaborative platforms to share sensitive communications.
Home WiFi networks frequently use basic or factory-standard passwords which are more vulnerable to hacking, whilst shared network environments open the possibility of multiple unprotected connections. This risk is heightened by the strain that such a sudden influx of remote endpoints can cause to a company’s infrastructure. Cyber criminals, aware of these vulnerabilities, are using them as fresh avenues for exploitation and extortion. In March alone, there was a reported 400 per cent rise in cyber attacks globally.
Spotlight on SMEs
With remote working causing unexpected strain upon a company’s cyber defence system, SMEs in particular may find their cyber security protocols are no longer capable of supporting and protecting their operations. Firstly, to

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