Australian SMEs facing rising cyber threat

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 29 October, 2021

Australian SMEs facing rising cyber threat

Two in three Australian SMEs fell victim to cyber attacks during the last year, research commissioned by Cisco suggests.

The research conducted by Dynata found that among these victims, two in three said cyber incidents in the past year cost their business $645,000 or more, and one in three said they cost their business more than $1.3 million.

Malware was the biggest cyber threat experienced, affecting 88% of SMEs. This was followed by phishing (70%) and denial of service attacks (64%). The research found that 77% of Australian SMEs are more concerned about cyber threats now than they were 12 months ago.

But the research also found that SMEs are reacting to this expanding threat landscape with proactive action to reduce their threat exposure.

A total of 85% of Australian SMEs have completed scenario planning or simulations of potential cyber incidents in the past 12 months, with 85% of these discovering weak points or issues in their cyber defences they were not yet aware of.

“The accelerated pace of digitalisation over the last 18 months has fuelled a critical need for SMBs to invest in solutions and capabilities to ensure they are safeguarding themselves on the cybersecurity front. This is because the more digital they become, the more attractive a target they are for malicious actors,” said Cisco ANZ Head of Small Businesses Luke Power.

“While the growing cybersecurity concerns among SMBs may be seen as negative by some, it is an encouraging sign as it demonstrates increased levels of awareness and understanding of cyber risks, which is the first step in improving the security posture. And, from the Australian data, we can see there are high levels of scenario planning and preparation from SMBs. This needs to continue.”

The report presenting the research gives SMEs five recommendations for improving their cyber posture. These are:

  1. Having frequent discussions with senior leaders and all stakeholders.
  2. Taking a simplified, integrated approach to cybersecurity.
  3. Staying prepared through conducting real-world simulations.
  4. Training and educating employees.
  5. Working with the right technology partner.

Image credit: ©

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