Effects of cyberattacks on businesses

SMEs are a key target for cyberattacks on Australian businesses

Cybersecurity is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. SME board members might be unaware that in a recent survey 78% of small businesses had been targeted by cyber criminals.

Cyberattacks are rapidly increasing in Australia with 59,806 cybercrime reports between July 2019 to July 2020. That’s an average of one every ten minutes. The effects of cyberattacks on businesses are significant, with a single cyberattack costing Australian businesses an average of $276,000 according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Increasing cyberattacks on Australian SME businesses

SMEs are ripe for cyberattack as they often don’t believe they will be targeted. Larger crime profits lie with larger corporations, but SMEs often lack in-house cyber risk expertise or cybersecurity policies and protocols, making it easy for cyber criminals. Because SMEs’ supply chains often link to other SMEs and larger companies, once a cybercriminal has infiltrated an SME, many other businesses and larger corporations are easily accessible.

COVID-19 a factor behind increased cyberattacks

As with offline criminals, cyber criminals take advantage of a crisis. The ACCC Scamwatch has received more than 1,100 reports of COVID-related scams. This includes phishing scams imitating both the Australian Government and large financial institutions.

Many businesses rapidly moved their enterprise online in 2020, overlooking cyber protocols. While SME boards’ attention is pulled in many directions during the pandemic, cyber criminals continue to look for loopholes and vulnerabilities.

Four steps to address SME cybersecurity

1. Undertake a security vulnerability assessment

Engage a professional to help understand your cyber risk profile, which should include a physical review of your systems and equipment. Advice should include:

  • Data back-up and cloud-based storage
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Vulnerabilities identified in the review of your systems and equipment
  • Developing a cyber response plan

2. Reduce effects of cyberattacks with a robust cyber security strategy

Following your assessment, implement a strategy addressing the day-to-day digital risk factors that make your SME vulnerable. This will save time and money in the event of an attack.

3. Train staff in cyber security threats and awareness

Ensure staff know what cyber threats exist in your business. Communicate cyber strategy and safe cyber practices to your team.

4. Business cyber insurance

Consider cyber insurance. In the event of an attack, insurance will assist with costs associated with operational downtime, recovery of data, equipment recovery and recreation of unrecovered data.

Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy for SMEs

Aware of the increasing cyber threats to SMEs and their limited resources to counter it, the Australian government has launched a $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy to help SMEs grow their cyber security awareness and capabilities. The strategy includes a 24/7 cyber security advice line and training in threat blocking, anti-virus and cyber security awareness.

 

Any decision that affects your business has legal implications. Contact us today to help secure your business for whatever tomorrow brings.

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