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We’re updating this article nearly three years after the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, Covid-19 is still here as we enter February 2023, although its public health effects are largely diminished. Yet, the work-from-home and hybrid work models remain. More than 74% of U.S. companies say they are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work environment.

What does this mean? Cybersecurity for business is more important than ever before. Simply put, remote work increases susceptibility to cyber threats. In this “new normal,” it’s vital to train employees to identify phishing scams, in particular.

Here’s why.

Is Your Business Team Prepared to Identify Phishing Scams?

In the original posting of this article, a new report at the time noted some 80% of employees did not want to return to the office full-time. Nothing has changed. A vast majority of the workforce at least has the option for remote or hybrid work

But why are these types of work environments more dangerous for business cybersecurity? They dramatically increase the potential for hacker infiltration, data breaches and worse. And phishing scams just happen to be some of the most common ways for bad actors online to gain access to devices and networks.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons why keeping your company safe may now be more difficult.

1. Employees Use Personal Mobile Devices for Work Purposes 

Nearly three-fourths (72%) of employees use their personal mobile device to ensure productivity while working remotely. Many more use personal home desktop and laptop computers. Each new device being used for your business operations is a new endpoint that must be protected.

Personal devices are some of the more difficult devices to manage corporately – especially when so many employees tend to blur the line between work and play. Because for the majority, users relying on these devices aren’t concerned about cybersecurity, and unfortunately many don’t know how to identify a mobile phishing attack.

Which segues nicely to the next point.

2. Employees Aren’t As Concerned With Corporate Security

One-third of employees worldwide consider IT security to be a low priority. Now, before you get upset and start pointing fingers, understand that your employees may not consider it one of their highest priorities. This doesn’t mean they don’t care at all. If anything, it means you should care more and you should prioritize cybersecurity more highly as a business executive. 

That’s where training comes in.

Make it your responsibility to care and your responsibility to train employees how to identify phishing scams and other cybersecurity risks – and just as importantly to remember why they should care. Your staff may not even know they should care in their day-to-day.

Which leads us to the next.

3. Users Are Unaware of the Risks

The average employee understands threats in the digital world at a surface level. Nearly half (43%) say they don’t know what a phishing attack looks like. In fact, many people who would consider themselves somewhat “tech savvy” are overwhelmed and even scared at “what’s out there.” 

The common response? Ignore it and pray someone else catches it. Not exactly the best defense.

It’s not their area of expertise, and you can’t blame them. Presumably, you’re paying them for their other valuable areas of expertise. But, again, you can make it their area of expertise through training. Even knowing what to spot and the next steps when encountering a phishing scam – or other digital threat – can protect your business against a very damaging and costly cyber attack.

Train Your Staff How to Identify a Phishing Scam … and What To Do Next

You’ll be glad you did, especially in this time of elevated risk. With the general higher risk with more people online, you are more likely to fall victim to these cyber criminals if you don’t take preventive action.

A phishing scam often comes as an email, text, popup or app message. It tricks the user into clicking on a malicious link or downloading a malicious app (that may actually look safe), thereby supplying confidential information. It’s imperative that organizations educate their employees to instill a sense of importance around participating in corporate security, the use of a mobile device as an attack vector, and the prevalence of attacks on mobile devices today.

To operate efficiently – and SAFELY – your organization must now find ways to provide as much security today as was offered when employees worked from the office. For companies needing advice or a totally new system to meet these new demands, call Acme Business at (716) 372-1325 and connect with us on LinkedIn. Our experts can create a specialized system fitting your unique cybersecurity needs.