Reliable in-building wireless networks have become a major selling point for commercial real estate owners when they try to lease space to prospective tenants. Strong connectivity ensures tenants can use their cell phones, laptops, and tablets and conduct video conferences without any disruption. There’s an even more important reason CRE owners need to have stable network connections however—cybersecurity. This has become a major concern for industry experts, according to Internet security and cloud services provider iomart’s recent survey, “Is your WAN Holding Your Business Back?”
Nearly half (46 percent) of businesses reported dissatisfaction with Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity, which could make them more vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to the survey. Additionally, businesses with between 20 and 49 office locations are more likely to experience connectivity problems than other organizations, with 31 percent of employees reporting WAN frustrations. Connectivity issues were a particular sticking point for security engineers, who comprised 38.5 percent of the survey’s respondents.
Remote work increases odds of cyber attacks
Unstable network connections could be dangerous for businesses because tenants will likely turn to an unsecured Internet connection or device to do their work. Using unsecured networks increase the vulnerability levels to viruses and malware.
Meanwhile, these risks get bigger for remote employees because their home wireless networks are not subjected to the same levels of security, maintenance or monitoring as business networks are. Despite the risks, iomart’s survey revealed that 45 percent of businesses aren’t planning to introduce secure Internet services to their business network even though half of the respondents said connectivity causes problems for them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employees to work from home and cyber criminals have taken advantage, according to iomart. The number of attacks targeting remote workers through email reportedly increased by 48 percent between March and mid-May. More than $5.9 million has been lost because of COVID-19 related cyber fraud between February and May.
“Although businesses may be reluctant to invest in network security due to cost concerns, the security implications of an unstable network could prove catastrophic in the event of a breach,” iomart Director Bill Strain said in a statement. “Remote workers are more vulnerable to breaches such as ransomware, viruses or hacking, as critical office security measures are less likely to be in place. Investing in secure connectivity will help minimize the potential threats from bad actors and improve long-term business productivity and performance.”