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NextGen Magazine


Study: Remote Workers Often More Aware of Cybersecurity Risks Than In-Office Colleagues

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jun 28, 2023

Remote workers are often more aware of, and vigilant about, cybersecurity than their on-site counterparts, a recent study published in Computers and Security concluded. The authors are Joseph K. Nwankpa an associate professor at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and Pratim Datta,  a professor of cybersecurity and digital transformation at Kent State University.

Their conclusion is based on a survey of 203 remote workers in the United States.

In their paper, “Remote vigilance: The roles of cyber awareness and cybersecurity policies among remote workers,” the authors note that many companies believe the rise of remote work is eroding their cybersecurity. They cite a 2021 AT&T survey that found that 70 percent of businesses with more than 5,000 employees believed remote working made their firms more vulnerable to cyberattacks. They also cite other studies reporting that these concerns are partly due to the increasing possibility of an attack as the number of end users log in remotely to a server or network. That can create an environment that increases the likelihood of successful cyberattacks when combined with poor cybersecurity awareness from workers new to remote working, these studies found.

Yet, "contrary to widely held beliefs about remote working, the results indicate that remote working is positively associated with cybersecurity awareness and security-based precaution-taking” the authors found. “The findings further show that information security policy compliance moderates the effect of remote working on cybersecurity awareness. In addition, the study reveals that as remote workers gain cybersecurity awareness, they are more likely to apply security-based precaution measures."

The authors also offer the argument that in-office employees may not be as mindful of cybersecurity threats because they trust their firms to take care of those concerns. "To this end, cybersecurity awareness among employees can be constrained when working within the organization's corporate offices," they write, adding, “The degree to which employees apply security precautions can reduce for office-based employees due to perceived belief and trust in corporate security countermeasures and protections."