Third of firms don’t provide cybersecurity training for remote workers

A third of companies are not providing any cybersecurity awareness training to users who work remotely.

Posted 16 January 2023 by Christine Horton

A study by cybersecurity provider Hornetsecurity also revealed nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of remote staff have access to critical data, which is creating more risk for companies in the new hybrid working world. 

Despite the current lack of training and employees feeling ill-equipped, almost half (44 percent) of respondents said their organisation plans to increase the percentage of employees that work remotely.

“The popularity of hybrid work, and the associated risks, means that companies must prioritise training and education to make remote working safe,” said Daniel Hofmann, CEO of Hornetsecurity.

“Traditional methods of controlling and securing company data aren’t as effective when employees are working in remote locations and greater responsibility falls on the individual. Companies must acknowledge the unique risks associated with remote work and activate relevant security management systems, as well as empower employees to deal with a certain level of risk.”

Research released last week reported a surge in cyberattacks in the final three months of last year made 2022 the worst year on record for malicious online activity against UK businesses.

Challenges and risks

The survey, which quizzed 925 IT professionals from a range of business types and sizes globally, highlighted the security management challenges and employee cybersecurity risk when working remotely.

The research revealed two core problems causing risk: employees having access to critical data, and not enough training being provided on how to manage cybersecurity or how to reduce the risk of a cyberattack or breach. 

Hofmann commented: “Increasing remote working cybersecurity measures is particularly important in the current climate, as cybercriminals are becoming smarter and using remote working to their advantage. We’ve seen an increase in smartphone attacks as hackers understand that both personal and professional data can likely be accessed as people can, and often do, carry out work on personal devices.”

Remote working security issues

While companies have adapted to new ways of working, cybersecurity risks linked to remote working, remain un-tackled. Nearly a fifth of IT professionals (18 percent) say workers are not secure when working remotely, but almost three-quarters of employees (74 percent) have access to critical data. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 14 percent of respondents said their organization suffered a cybersecurity incident related to remote working. 

Remote working is not only known by professionals to bring unique issues, but people are experiencing the consequences of inadequate protection measures and insufficient remote management. 

Lack of knowledge amplifies risk

The study also highlighted a lack of understanding, confidence and knowledge around cybersecurity from employees when working remotely. Nearly half (43 percent) of IT professionals rate their confidence in their remote security measures as ‘moderate’ or worse, with the survey also finding that ‘uncontrolled file sharing’ was a common source of cybersecurity incidents (16 percent).

Use of endpoint management

Having strong systems in place to protect employees is essential. The study found that the main sources of cybersecurity incidents were compromised endpoints (28 percent) and compromised credentials (28 percent). In addition, 15 percent said that employees use their own devices with some endpoint configuration for remote work. It’s clear that having both security awareness training and investment in endpoint management systems are vital to have robust remote cybersecurity for organisations.

Check out the lineup for the Think Cybersecurity for Government event.