MANY businesses feel more vulnerable to cyber-attack since the increase of remote working, new research suggests.

And commercial insurer NFU Mutual says despite increased concerns, 45 per cent of businesses it surveyed have not taken any action to protect themselves.

The insurer has extended its cyber helpline to provide additional support to help protect against the ongoing threat of online crime and to support businesses feeling vulnerable to cyber-attack.

Delivered by CyberScout, the helpline offers eligible customers free access to coaching as well as support in the event of an attack.

Top tips for businesses to protect against cyber-crime:

* Advise all employees to use a strong, unique password for email and other business accounts. These should not be easily guessable names, dates or numbers. The same password should not be used across different accounts and all passwords should be changed regularly

* Take extra care with emails. Never click on a link in an unsolicited email and be extra vigilant of any messages that ask you to reset an account password or give personal information. Scammers often pretend to be an organisation or person you know – a practice known as phishing

* Ensure you have the right processes and technology in place which are designed to not only prevent cyber-attacks but also to deal with the effects during and after any attack

* Make cyber-security a priority for everyone in the business — employees need to play an active role in minimising risks. There should be effective training in place and ongoing awareness programmes to keep staff involved in protecting the business

* Consider the cyber-security in place throughout your supply chain to ensure any weak links are addressed

* Don’t wait until you become aware of a cyber-attack. Instead, proactively look to detect breaches or any weaknesses in your systems, and practise how you would respond in the event of a breach

* The ideal approach is to prevent the intrusion, damage or loss in the first place, but it can also be reassuring to have a cyber insurance policy in place. Data breaches can result in fines and reputational damage, while attacks can lead to business shutdowns

For more advice on protecting your business from cyber-attack while home working visit