Nationwide: Remote workers are the biggest cyber blind spots for small businesses

Only half of those business owners have proper security policies in place

Nationwide: Remote workers are the biggest cyber blind spots for small businesses


By Lyle Adriano

A new report by Nationwide Insurance has revealed that while more small business owners are open to the idea of remote work arrangements for their employees, such setups can make those businesses more vulnerable to a cyberattack.

Nationwide’s fifth annual Business Owner Survey found that 83% of small business owners allow and offer their employees the option to work securely from a remote location when needed and appropriate. Among young business owners – aged 18 to 34 – this figure jumps to 95%.

However, the survey also found that only 50% of small business owners have updated their remote work security policy in the past year. Nationwide noted that failing to update remote work policies could put business owners at higher risk of a data breach.

Small business owners are also exposed to other cyber threats, the survey found. Nationwide discovered that only 4% of business owners have implemented all of the cybersecurity best practices and recommendations from the US Small Business Administration. The survey also noted that one in five small business owners have not committed their employees to formal cybersecurity training, despite the reality that employees can be one of their largest threats.

“What may seem like a harmless public Wi-Fi network could ultimately pose serious troubles for a business,” commented Nationwide vice-president of cyber risk Catherine Rudow.

Rudow added that many employees do not realize the risk associated with a cyberattack since they did not undergo a formal training process.

Other findings of the report include:

  • 65% of business owners admit they have been a victim of a cyberattack; computer virus attacks are the top type of cyberattack reported (33%), phishing is the second (29%).
  • 86% of business owners believe that digital risk will continue to grow.
  • 30% of companies with 11-50 employees do not offer any type of formal cybersecurity training.
  • 7% of companies fail to update their software, despite the simplicity of the step.
  • Reputational risk is among the top reasons (45%) why business owners would consider cybersecurity insurance.
  • 35% of business owners who have never experienced a cyberattack are unaware of the financial cost to recover.


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