Small businesses that allow their employees to work on their own laptops and smart phones are at greater risk of security breaches.
New research by Paymentsense has found a correlation between "bring your own device" (BYOD) schemes and increased cyber security risk in small businesses.
Six in ten (61%) small businesses have experienced a cyber security incident since introducing a BYOD policy, according to the study.
BYOD policies - where employees use personal devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones for work - are increasingly popular and many businesses report that BYOD saves money and increases productivity. The study shows that BYOD schemes are prevalent at UK small businesses of all sizes:
- 40% of micro-businesses (with up to ten staff) have a BYOD policy;
- 51% of businesses with 51 to 100 employees allow BYOD;
- 69% of medium-sized firms with 101 to 250 staff allow BYOD.
The findings show that cyber security incidents increase as BYOD popularity rises. One in seven (14%) micro-businesses reported a cyber security incident since implementing BYOD. This figure rises to 70% for businesses with 11 to 50 employees, and to 94% for SMEs with 101 to 250 workers.
The most common types of cyber security breach affecting UK small businesses are:
- Malware (65%);
- Virus (42%);
- Distributed denial of service (26%);
- Data theft (24%);
- Phishing (23%);
- Identity theft (16%);
- Social engineering/scams (15%);
- Hacking (12%);
- Cyber ransom demands (5%).
Chafic Badr, head of digital at Paymentsense, said: "Although our study shows the popularity of BYOD amongst small businesses, it's alarming to see so many reporting incidents since implementing these schemes. As with all cyber security issues, the biggest factor is the human one - employees need to be aware of their responsibilities and the risks associated with a BYOD system. This is particularly important when you consider personal data responsibilities in the post-GDPR landscape."
Paymentsense has created a cyber security guide for small business owners.