New research from leading cybersecurity provider Hornetsecurity has found that 33% of companies are not providing any cybersecurity awareness training to users who work remotely.
The study also revealed that nearly three-quarters (74%) of remote staff have access to critical data, 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%) of respondents said their organisation plans to increase the percentage of employees that work remotely.
The survey was conducted by Hornetsecurity, which asked 925 people working in IT across seven continents, and in business spanning 1-50 people to 1000+ people, with a variety of experience, ranging from one to 20 years.
“The popularity of hybrid work, and the associated risks, means that companies must prioritise training and education to make remote working safe. 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,” says Daniel Hofmann, CEO of Hornetsecurity.
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 cyber-attack or breach.
“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,” adds Hofmann.
While companies have adapted to new ways of working, cybersecurity risks linked to remote working still need to be addressed.
Nearly a fifth of IT professionals (18%) say workers are not secure when working remotely, but almost three-quarters of employees (74%) have access to critical data. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 14% of respondents said their organisation 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.
The study also highlighted a lack of understanding, confidence and knowledge around cybersecurity from employees when working remotely.
Nearly half (43%) of IT professionals rate their confidence in their remote security measures as ‘moderate’ or worse. The survey also found that uncontrolled file sharing was a common source of cybersecurity incidents (16%).
Organisations can reduce risks associated with cybersecurity by increasing education and training.
Basic training could improve matters significantly: Hornetsecurity’s Security Awareness Training, for example, helps firms to strengthen their human firewall.
Having strong systems in place to protect employees is essential.
The study found that the main sources of cybersecurity incidents were compromised endpoints (28%) and compromised credentials (28%). In addition, 15% said that employees use their own devices with some endpoint configuration for remote work. Therefore, security awareness training and investment in endpoint management systems are vital to robust remote cybersecurity for organisations.
“To tackle the knowledge gap, training such as our end user Cyber Security Awareness Training helps ensure attackers are less likely to carry out a successful breach when trying to exploit employees. This and endpoint management, are the two basic steps in reducing remote working risks,” concludes Hofmann.