Written by: Daniel Haurey on 04/25/24

The popularity of remote work has transformed business operations but also introduced new security challenges. Remote workers operate outside the controlled environment of a traditional office, making them more susceptible to cyberattacks. This is where security awareness training emerges as a critical line of defense, protecting your company from the inside out.

Why is Security Awareness Training Crucial for Remote Workers?

While remote and hybrid workplaces create advantages for organizations and their employees, they can be a challenging environment for IT.  Remote and hybrid workplaces expand the attack surface because employees use any variety of personal devices and home or other unprotected networks, potentially bypassing organizational security measures. They can also be out of view for IT staff or your managed IT services provider (MSP), making them easier targets for sophisticated cyber attacks geared to constantly probe for weaknesses. Security awareness training empowers your team to better identify and then avoid common threats like phishing fraud and malware. It addresses other potential threats as well, such as juice jacking and unsecured WiFi networks.

[Read our blog on these threats]

Additionally, because remote workers rely on digital communication – often across multiple channels – they are more susceptible to social engineering tactics. An employee chatting across Teams, Google chat, text messages, email, and more can miss the subtle warning signs of phishing attacks or other scam communications. Security education for remote employees equips them with the skills to recognize and resist attempts to manipulate them into compromising sensitive information or access.

Benefits of Security Awareness Training for Remote Teams

Investing in remote employee security awareness training is always a good investment, regardless of where your team works. But if you are a remote or hybrid organization, it can deliver incredible ROI. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Reduced Cyberattack Risk: Empowered employees become the first line of defense for your organization. They can identify and report suspicious activity. Employee security awareness initiatives reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks and costly data breaches. For example, phishing awareness training has proven itself to lower clicks on suspicious emails by 70% simply by raising cybersecurity awareness for remote workers.
  • Improved Security Culture: Threat awareness training fosters a culture of security awareness, encouraging employees to take responsibility for cybersecurity. This creates a collective effort to protect the organization from cyber threats. Keep in mind that effective security awareness strategies for remote teams include a regular cadence of training to constantly improve remote employee cybersecurity skills. Your organization will also want to support training with a robust set of cybersecurity policies addressing password usage and management, data security, bring your own device (BYOD) expectations, and more.
  • Enhanced Compliance: Many industries have specific data security regulations tied to strict regulatory compliance standards. Remote workforce security awareness campaigns ensure remote workers understand and comply with these regulations, minimizing legal risks and protecting sensitive information.

Making Security Awareness Training Effective and Affordable

To create an effective remote workforce security awareness training program, consider partnering with a managed IT service provider who can offer or recommend a reputable and thorough training program, typically priced between $10 and $40 per employee annually. From there, launch a regular cadence of sessions to keep employees informed and engaged. Security awareness training is an ongoing process for several reasons—not only to keep best practices top of mind but also to educate your team on the revolving door of cyber threats, which are only getting more sophisticated and sneakier. Security awareness training should be simple, engaging, and even incorporate humor to reinforce learning while avoiding a punitive approach.Lastly, incorporatetraining elements into daily work tasks for seamless learning and application.

Beyond Training: Additional Security Measures for Remote Teams

Other elements of a security-focused culture include policies that outline password and MFA requirements, acceptable usage, BYOD expectations, and a clear business continuity plan that accounts for your remote or hybrid employees. Develop an incident response plan that is as agile as your workforce, including communication strategies in case of a disruption that wipes out established processes for reaching employees in remote locations.

[Need guidance? Download our incident response template]

Investing in online security awareness training for remote teams is an investment in your company’s future. By empowering your remote workforce with the knowledge and skills to combat cyber threats, you can create a more secure and resilient work environment, protecting your business assets, reputation, and customer trust.

Interested in learning more? Exigent offers Vigilant Security Awareness Training as a service, making it affordable while also providing the foundation for an improved cybersecurity culture in your organization.