AUD 2,100 for every SME with 19 employees or less — if they want to revist their cyber security practices. Source: Shutterstock

AUD 2,100 for every SME with 19 employees or less — if they want to revist their cyber security practices. Source: Shutterstock

How Australia is driving cybersecurity for its small businesses

RECENTLY, Australian media reported that China has ramped up cyber monitoring and online attacks on its businesses while other studies claimed overall cybercrime in the country has gone up manifold.

Obviously, businesses in Australia (and the government) are concerned, and it’s the country’s smallest businesses that are most at risk because they typically don’t have the resources to spend on improving cybersecurity.

The government has therefore decided to offer financial support to small businesses interesting in reviewing and improving their cybersecurity strategy and identify areas that need attention.

Dubbed “The Cyber Security Small Business Program”, the government has partnered with The Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers Australia New Zealand (CREST) to implement the ambitious project.

It is expected that grants will be provided to small businesses (with 19 or fewer employees) for up to 50 percent of the cost of a micro, small, or standard certified small business check.

According to CREST, these health checks are essentially the same, but vary in price depending on the number of devices that are tested.

Although the program is expected to be a big success, it’s not all that the Australia government is doing. It is also organizing a five-part webinar series for business to help educate them about cybersecurity best practices and includes:

  • Cybersecurity for small to medium enterprises
  • The cyber threat landscape for small to medium enterprises
  • Cyber security operational basics
  • Developing an effective incident response capability
  • Cyber security in the cloud and outsourcing.

In fact, the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science has been trying to engage local businesses in a conversation about digital risks and cybersecurity for the past year or so.

Another major initiative is the establishment and renewed promotion of the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). It allows the public to securely report cyber incidents and threats Australia-wide.

ACORN can help executives protect their business from cybercrime by:

  • helping you learn more about cybercrime and how to can affect you and your business
  • providing practical tips and advice to help you avoid cybercrime
  • making it easier to report cybercrime.

Overall, the government in Australia is working hard to ensure local businesses are aware of their cybersecurity needs and identify the gaps that can be easily filled to make sure customers and the public are protected.