The Federal Government has announced new measures to help boost cyber awareness and resilience for small businesses.
Led by the Minister for Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, the forthcoming 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy will include new support for small and medium businesses that are more vulnerable to the impacts of cyber incidents.
As part of the strategy the government has committed $7.2 million to establish a voluntary cyber health-check program will allow businesses to undertake a free, tailored self-assessment of their cyber security maturity.
It will also invest $11 million in the Small Business Cyber Resilience Service which will provide one-on-one assistance to help small businesses navigate their cyber challenges, including walking them through the steps to recover from a cyber-attack.
Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil said the cyber security strategy will make sure the support is available to small businesses understand and improve their own cyber security.
“Uplifting the cyber security of our small businesses is integral to a cyber secure and resilient nation, and this dedicated support will make a huge difference in their preparedness and resilience,” O’Neil said.
The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) CEO Luke Achterstraat said the practical initiatives were welcomed at a time when cyber risk remained a high concern for small business.
“43 per cent of all cyber-crimes are targeted towards small businesses, with attacks costing the small business sector an estimated $2 billion a year. The average financial loss due to business-compromised email has risen to over $50,000 per incident which itself can be terminal for many small businesses,” Achterstraat said.
“Small business owners and employees are time-poor and often inadequately prepared for cyber threats. These programs open the door for small businesses to have the cyber conversation, receive a diagnosis and be referred to appropriate courses of action.
Achterstraat added that there are practical steps small businesses can take to help reduce their cyber risk.
There is a range of immediate measures including better password management, multi-factor authentication, patch management and data backups to reduce both the likelihood and severity of an attack,” Achterstraat said.
“Cyber-attacks often target various employees of a small business, so it is critical that a team mindset is adopted, and training is undertaken at an organisation-wide level”.
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