Digital technologies have taken up a dominant role at the heart of today’s businesses. They are central to a business’s ability to generate and process revenue. As such, they have become the primary target for malicious actors aiming to cause financial and reputational damage. Cybercrime is one of the largest threats facing businesses today, making cybersecurity one of the most pressing concerns.

Last year in Australia, cyber attacks through compromised emails cost businesses over $98 million, according to the Australian Signals Directorate. The problem is worsening year-on-year as well, with the average amount of money lost per impacted business rising 14%. For small  businesses, the mean cost to impacted businesses was a potentially devastating $39,000.

What Are The Largest Cybersecurity Threats in Australia?

The most significant areas of threat Australian businesses face can be categorised in three main areas:

1. Technology and infrastructure vulnerabilities

Think of cybersecurity as a battle, with cybercriminals aiming to gain access to your business’s systems, and the network attempting to defend itself against them. The side with the best ‘weapons’, or technologies, at their disposal stands a better chance of winning.

Outdated or unpatched software is a major weakness for businesses. According to data from Skybox, the number of publicly reported software vulnerabilities has been steadily increasing globally, with latest figures showing an uptick of 24%. Cybercriminals move quickly to find new vulnerabilities in software, but manufacturers work just as diligently to patch them up.

Another important measure to minimise the risk of unauthorised access is by adhering to password security best practice. Often the easiest way for cybercriminals to hack the network is through an easily guessed password, or one that is reused for multiple logins. Making use of complex passphrases and an encrypted password manager are simple but impactful ways to improve security. 

Along with data leaks, unauthorised access by malicious actors puts networks at risk of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a rapidly rising and evolving threat, involving software programs that gain access to systems and lock them, holding the network’s data to ransom. While large organisations across the world, including governments, have been targeted by ransomware, small businesses are at particular risk due to their perceived lack of robust security infrastructure. The results can be devastating: reports from Comparitech found that ransomware attacks caused businesses an average of 22 days of downtime.

With business being conducted increasingly across mobile devices, it is important to pay particular attention to these devices’ security capabilities. The ability to work from anywhere is convenient, but the more devices on a network with access to sensitive data and systems increases the risk of a breach.

2. Human-related threats

As important as robust technological infrastructure is for safeguarding cybersecurity, a network is only as secure as the people that use it. According to the World Economic Forum, 95% of cybersecurity issues can be traced back to human error. For this reason, ensuring that everyone with access to the network has had training on cybersecurity best practices is vital.

The largest threat to networks that targets an organisation’s people is phishing, where users are enticed to reveal information, or download or click on malware that has been disguised as harmless. With the ability to grant cyber criminals access to sensitive data and systems through as little as one click, training employees to spot phishing scams and other threats is crucial to keep your business secure.

For more on the steps individuals and businesses can take to enhance their network security, read more here.

3. Third-party breaches

Even with rigid security infrastructure and vigilant employees, however, businesses can still find themselves at risk of breaches through the organisations they deal with. Given the interconnected, online nature of the modern business world, cybercriminals that have gained access to one organisation’s network have the ability to use it to reach others.

Any organisation that does not take cybersecurity seriously runs the risk of not only endangering its own operations, but those of its partners. By being the weak link in an interlinked network, they can become the entry point for wide-reaching cyberattacks.

While this should hardly stop organisations from working together, it is important to evaluate both the security credentials of potential partners and the flow of information between organisations. While working with external parties, continue to evaluate whether a partnering organisation requires access to each piece of sensitive information in order to minimise the risk in the event of a breach.

For a closer look at some of the most common security threats for small businesses in Australia, read more here.

What Role is Emerging Technology Playing in Cybersecurity?

Emerging technologies are currently revolutionising the cybersecurity space, though this is both a positive and a negative. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have led to the proliferation of newer and more sophisticated cyber threats. For instance, machine learning programs are becoming better at guessing passwords and getting around bot detection, while generative AI has its uses in generating phishing scams. 

In the face of these expanding threats, however, emerging technologies are enabling more complex cybersecurity frameworks to be created. Armed with AI and ML, cybersecurity professionals continue to bolster threat detection and response capabilities. The greater functionality of devices on the Internet of Things allow for mobile work to be conducted more securely, while blockchain technology is being used to provide more secure encryption technology.

As each new technology offers innovative ways to conduct business, it brings with it added risks. The threat of cyberattacks and breaches continues to become more complex. It’s what makes having the right cybersecurity infrastructure in place. By partnering with FTG, your business can have peace of mind knowing it can rely on managed security experts. Our team of over 140 expert technicians can work with your business to find the custom security solutions that work best. 

To find out more about FTG’s end to end security services, visit our website or contact us on 131 384.

Enhancing Security for Small Business

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