Avast research finds growing security challenges for SMBs

Research from Avast has found that employees in almost a third (31%) of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in the UK are connecting to the corporate network using personal devices that do not have any security controls in place, according to IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) within SMBs.

Since the pandemic began, SMB leaders and ITDMs have had to quickly adapt to changing working behaviors. Whether teams are fully remote or hybrid, trying to ensure employees have the right technology in place hasn’t been straightforward. Of the ITDMs surveyed in this study, 66% stated they had not provided employees with their own dedicated work computers, whilst 19% encouraged employees working from home to use personal devices due to difficulties providing company hardware to them. A further 22% provided corporate software to employees to use in conjunction with personal devices due to these difficulties.

Since working from home was introduced at the start of the pandemic, only 23% of ITDMs said their company has specifically asked employees not to use personal devices for work activities. A further 15% of ITDMs have noticed unidentified or unauthorised devices on the corporate network that they believe are employees’ personal devices.

When SMB employees were asked directly about the personal devices they use for work, 27% stated they had connected a personal computer to a company network and 15% had connected a personal smartphone. Of those who did this, 8% didn’t get permission before connecting a personal computer and 13% didn’t get permission before connecting a personal smartphone.

“One of the biggest challenges with the move to remote and hybrid working has been ensuring employees have the freedom to do their jobs in a safe and productive manner,” commented Marc Botham, VP Worldwide Channel & Alliances at Avast. “IT teams have understandably done their best to make this happen, but as we begin to resume some form of normality, it’s crucial that the security of personal devices accessing the corporate network is treated with as much importance as the security of corporate devices. To help address this challenge we recently introduced a new Network Discovery tool, available for free to Avast Business Hub users, so that SMB leaders and IT teams can rest easy in the knowledge they have complete network visibility.”

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