Remote employees pay $111 monthly for work-related cybersecurity - report

A new report does not look good for some employers - it shows that 14% of employees weren’t supplied with any tech to work remotely during the pandemic, and 21% of workers experienced work-related cybersecurity expenses, $111.30 monthly on average.

You would think that the digital leap we were forced to take because of COVID improved our cyber hygiene. While more people now use two-factor authentication (2FA) and virtual private networks (VPNs), new data suggests that the usage of other crucial cybersecurity tools, such as antivirus and password managers, fell during the pandemic.

For example, before the pandemic, more than 58% of users tried to connect to secure Wi-Fi. This number is lingering around 50% during the pandemic, a survey by VPNOverview shows.

“This observation tells me that companies hadn’t adapted or enforced structured cybersecurity habits they had in the workplace prior to the pandemic when their company shifted to a remote setting. Even if they did, employees don’t have the same workplace cybersecurity facilities, emphasizing the struggle of remote workplace cybersecurity,” the founder of the company David Janssen told CyberNews.

For some reason, 14,2% of remote workers weren’t supplied with any tech from their company to work from home.

“Through our research, it wasn’t necessarily clear why employers wouldn’t provide their employees with equipment to use for work. However, with more employees using personal devices and handling cybersecurity in their manner, it does make the company more liable to cybersecurity threats, as there are more potential “access points,” so to speak, for internal data to be exposed,” Janssen said.

Unfortunately, some companies consider cybersecurity not a necessity but a luxury. More than 20% of respondents claimed they are paying for their work-related cybersecurity from their own pockets, $111 monthly on average.

“This lets us know that many employers aren’t compensating their employees for keeping the company’s information secure; this looks bad for employers, as their employees are forced to pay a significant amount of money to protect work data. It isn’t apparent if employers enforce employees to maintain cybersecurity, but it still pushes the narrative that companies don’t take their cybersecurity as seriously as they should,” Janssen explained.

When it comes to personal cybersecurity, 38% of people report paying for it, $70 monthly on average.

The report also revealed that 32% of remote employees had been targeted by a phishing/cybersecurity attack more than once. Over 2 in 5 remote employees have experienced data breaches or related repercussions after experiencing a cybersecurity attack.

Negligent attitude towards cybersecurity is a costly luxury, especially as ransomware is prospering. A spike in cybercrime that we faced in 2020 might repeat itself in 2021, only with more intensity, experts of management consulting company McKinsey claim.

Ransomware will continue to pose a significant risk to businesses and countries. In 2019, there was only one ransomware group exploiting double-extortion tactics. Last year, 15 cybercriminal gangs were already doing so. With the UK NHS, Microsoft, SolarWinds, New Zealand Stock Exchange, and Twitter suffering significant hacks in 2020, ransomware is considered not business-only but a national security risk. Ransomware attacks are expected to intensify this year.

And even as employers are considering the return of their workforce to the office, some form of hybrid setup will become the norm, with employees sometimes working from home, sometimes from the office, and sometimes from third places, such as cafes or co-working spaces. Each of these options provides some cybersecurity considerations for employers and employees alike to consider.

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