A Cyber Security Best Practice Guide has been developed to help busy small business operators understand the risks and how to prevent cyber attacks.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman published the guide after research showed 60 per cent of small firms that experienced a cyber breach went of business within the following six months.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said many small businesses lacked time and resources but couldn’t afford to be complacent about cyber security.
“Surveys have shown that 87 per cent of small businesses believe antivirus software alone is enough to keep them safe,” Ms Carnell said.
“Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.
“Online threats are just as real as physical threats. Cyber security needs to be taken seriously, like having locks on your doors and a burglar alarm.”
Ms Carnell said the handy guide produced by her office suggests getting advice from a trusted adviser.
“Accountants, IT specialists and skilled family or friends are the go-to sources,” she said.
“There are also useful websites like www.staysmartonline.gov.au that provide simple, easy-to-understand advice.”
Ms Carnell said small businesses shouldn’t be afraid of “going online” because the opportunities and benefits could be immense.
“Many small businesses have successfully blended their physical and virtual shopfronts to establish sustainable operating models,” she said.
“It would be an incredible shame if small businesses shut themselves out of the online market because of fears about cybersecurity.
“There are risks attached to most activities, even crossing the road. Taking sensible precautions broadens opportunities and heightens the rewards.”
Cyber security is all about protecting your information and your business from being compromised while online. If you use the internet on any device, you’re at risk of a cyber-attack. This could be from loss or corruption by bad practice, or from hackers who steal, trick or ransom businesses out of their money.
The problem is that over a third of small businesses don’t take proactive measures to protect against cyber-attacks, and most are happy that their anti-virus software will do the trick.
The guide will:
- expose the issue of cyber security, as it affects small businesses;
- demonstrate the importance of a cyber security policy for all small businesses using the internet;
- recommend best practice principles and actions to protect your business; and
- highlight the best places to go for more information.
For more information visit www.asbfeo.gov.au/cybersecurity