How To Train Your Remote Team On Cybersecurity

It’s now been over a year since the first COVID-19 lockdowns hit, sending myriad companies hurtling into the unfamiliar world of remote working — and that time has proven very informative. On the whole, people have discovered that working at a distance isn’t the drain on productivity that many skeptics had claimed for so long, and the lack of time or money spent on commuting has left plenty of professionals determined to keep working from home in the future.

But it isn’t all positives. We’ve also learned that working remotely poses fresh challenges and dangers, particularly pertaining to cybersecurity. Companies now exist either mostly or entirely in the cloud, with their files stored and processed through cloud services and their internal and external communications handled in the same way — and that means that just one hack could completely compromise a business operation.

If you’re going to operate safely, you need to ensure that your remote team knows how to take the right precautions. Here are four tips for carrying out suitable cybersecurity training:

Explain common types of attack

There are various types of fraud that can be effective in the cybersecurity world. To name just a few, there are brute-force attacks that exploit weak passwords to gain access to systems, phishing attacks that see fraudsters pose as trusted professionals to trick people into sharing their sensitive information, and system exploits that target software vulnerabilities. And then there are indirect attacks like click fraud that can cause significant damage.

Your employees don’t need to know all that much about the different types of attack, but they do need to know the basics. This will help them avoid making basic mistakes and identify attacks if they happen to encounter them, but it will also make it harder for attackers to take advantage of their ignorance. Your training might even cultivate a beneficial curiosity about cybersecurity.

Introduce cybersecurity tools

So many companies have been able to migrate to cloud operation because the underlying software systems are so accessible, affordable, and convenient. Thankfully, this also applies to security software, so there’s no good excuse for not investing in the right tools to keep your operation tightly secured. Of course, having the right tools won’t help you if your employees don’t know how to use them effectively.

Most people have dabbled somewhat in using security software, whether it’s been to download an antimalware scanner or run a free VPN to access region-locked videos on Netflix, but that doesn’t mean they’re prepared to use business-level software. For example, you should have a company VPN to protect all your data and communications, and it’s no use rolling it out if your employees don’t actually use it. Ensure that you explain how your chosen tools should be used.

Write clear guides to follow

People are going to forget security procedures. It’s completely unavoidable. In addition, you’re likely to update those procedures as you go. Compliance regulations are prone to change, for instance, so you might suddenly need to radically rethink how you handle customer data. Due to this, you can’t rely solely on running training sessions to discuss all the latest updates.

Instead, you should produce some clear cybersecurity guides to which your employees can refer when they’re uncertain about something. You can then update those guides whenever necessary. Link to all the guides through a company intranet page and you can avoid a lot of effort (as well as making it easier to onboard new hires).

Encourage relevant questions

Lastly, there are two big reasons why you should strongly encourage your employees to ask questions when they’re uncertain about what to do. Firstly, it’ll push them to think about why the security measures are necessary, cultivating strong security instincts. Secondly, it’ll make it markedly less likely that they’ll make egregious mistakes. After all, people can be afraid to look ignorant, and this fear can drive them to act without knowing what they’re doing.

In doing this, you should also stress the value of admitting the mistakes that slip through the cracks (because there will always be mistakes, whether minor or major). If your employees are too scared to admit when they get things wrong because they fear losing their jobs, they might opt to cover up their errors and unintentionally allow them to fester. If they let you know what’s going on, though, you can figure out how to make things better.