More than one in every three businesses has sacked staff due to a breach of company cyber security since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to latest research.

Dave Williams, said the lockdown had forced companies to reconsider their approach to cyber security with many more taking out insurance to cover their tech systems.

“Cyber security has been a key issue for several years now even before Covid-19 – but these unprecedented times have sharpened the focus still further.

“With the vast majority of staff working from home, the potential for cyber security breaches has been huge – maybe your staff have been using personal laptops and not changing passwords, or maybe they have been using the internet in an unsafe way without realising it?

“An unclear approach and lack of understanding about the security standards your company expects could have a disastrous effect on your company if your systems are infiltrated by cyber criminals.”

The survey on cyber crime was carried out by Censuswide for IT security software provider, Centrify, and 200 UK firms were asked their opinions.

The research showed that 39% of businesses had sacked staff for breaching company cyber security systems since the start of the pandemic, and that 65% had made substantial changes to their security policy in response to the outbreak.

In the survey, 57% of businesses said they were introducing extra measures to authenticate employees such as fingerprint and facial recognition technology, and additional steps were required when staff were accessing certain files and accounts.

More than half the businesses had already banned staff from using personal devices to work from home or planned to in the future.

“Cyber security is critical if you want to keep your business safe and you must ensure you have strict and clear procedures in place,” said Mr Williams.

“Take the time to develop a system that makes it virtually impossible for your staff to access company networks and customer data unless they follow the right procedures.”