Employees are the main culprits when it comes to the widening cybersecurity gap in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a new survey released by Cowbell, a provider of cyber insurance for SMEs. The survey reveals that over three-quarters of SMEs’ C-suite and senior managers have no confidence in their teams operating their own devices securely.
The survey also highlights that employees are not the only contributing factor to the risk. The C-suite themselves lack cyber awareness, with over three-quarters of those in leadership positions unable to confidently identify a cyber incident at work. Additionally, 50% of them believe they cannot distinguish between a phishing email and a legitimate one.
Among the key findings of the survey are that 77% of SMEs aren’t confident about the security of their employees’ personal devices being used for work purposes, and 89% are not checking whether employees’ devices have the most up-to-date software. These findings are particularly concerning given the shift to remote work, with 85% of employees currently working from home and expressing a desire for a hybrid work model.
The research underscores the fact that businesses are not only exposing themselves to risk due to a lack of awareness about basic protective measures, but they are also relying too heavily on employees to perform safety protocols such as device protection, software updates, and avoiding unsafe networks.
As a result, SMEs are left with a substantially increased exposure to cyber risks. Simon Hughes, Vice President and General Manager (UK) at Cowbell, emphasizes the significance of this issue, stating that it leaves SMEs highly vulnerable to cyber threats.
The survey’s findings call for SMEs to prioritize cybersecurity education and awareness among their employees and leadership teams. By investing in training programs and implementing stringent security protocols, SMEs can mitigate the risks posed by employee negligence and strengthen their cybersecurity framework.
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