Although small businesses are less inclined to provide their staff with company devices to work from home, only one third of employees (34%) in this category have received instructions on how to securely work on personal laptops, tablets and smartphones while at home during the pandemic lockdown – even though more business data is now drifting outside the corporate perimeter.
Working from personal devices has become a necessity for some small organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. But even without COVID-19 lockdown measures in place, this practice remains relevant for some organizations as it gives greater freedom to employees to work anytime, everywhere, while making savings on equipment to employers. However, in addition to the business benefits, organizations must also remember to protect these devices from cyber risks so that sensitive business and customer data stored on them remains safe, and employees can work without downtime as a result of ransomware or other malware infections.
During the pandemic, three-in-five employees of small organizations (57%) were not provided with corporate devices from their employers, compared to an average of 45% of staff working in all companies, as shown in the recent Kaspersky study. While it may be the only option for some organizations to keep their business going, only one third of small business staff (34%) indicated they were given any IT security requirements to work securely on personal devices.
These requirements could include, for example, having an anti-malware solution installed by a user or provided by an organization, using strong and unique passwords on devices and WiFi routers, and regularly updating device operating systems in order to reduce risks from unpatched vulnerabilities.
Having such instructions in place has recently become even more necessary, given that 35% of small business employees admitted they have begun to store more valuable corporate information on their home devices, as well as in personal cloud storage services (25%).
“Small companies may be in difficult circumstances and their first priority is to save their business and employees during the lockdown. So it is no surprise that cybersecurity may become an afterthought. However, implementing even basic IT security requirements can decrease the chances of malware infection, compromised payments or lost business data. Moreover, there are plenty of recommendations already given by cybersecurity experts that businesses can share with their employees to help them keep their devices safe. And of course, the requirements should be followed not only during home isolation but continued when staff work remotely in the future,” comments Andrey Dankevich, Senior Product Marketing Manager, B2B Product Marketing at Kaspersky.
Kaspersky advises small companies to follow these IT security requirements to protect their employees while working from personal devices:
More information about Kaspersky Small Office Security can be found on the product page.
To read more findings from Kaspersky “How COVID-19 changed the way people work” report, please follow the link.
 The study was conducted by research agency Toluna in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia in April 2020. A total of 6,017 respondents were surveyed across the stated countries including 1,381 working in companies with 1-49 employees.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 250,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.