Small business cyber security guide released
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has developed a ‘Cyber security best practice guide’ to help busy small business operators understand the risks and how to prevent cyber attacks.
The Ombudsman published the guide after research showed that 60 percent of small firms that have experienced a cyber breach went of business within the following six months.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell says that while many small businesses are short of time and resources, they can’t afford to be complacent about cyber security.
“Surveys have shown that 87 percent of small businesses believe antivirus software alone is enough to keep them safe,” Carnell says. “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.”
The cyber security guide suggests three steps to protecting a business’ assets.
Prevention – protect your assets:
- Back up regularly to protect against loss
- patch applications by installing security updates
- use complex passwords and two-step authentication, and
- limit access to administrator accounts and sensitive information.
Well-being – do things safely:
- Communicate safe practice and talk about cyber security regularly
- browse safe sites and ensure your staff do too, and
- only allow applications you trust on your computers.
Response – report and recover from an attack:
- If you think an attack has happened, tell staff and tell the authorities
- restore back-ups from before the incident, and
- consider cyber insurance.
Carnell says that 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 says. “There are also useful websites like www.staysmartonline.gov.au that provide simple, easy-to-understand advice.”
Carnell also says that small businesses shouldn’t be afraid of “going online” because the opportunities and benefits can be immense.
“Many small businesses have successfully blended their physical and virtual shopfronts to establish sustainable operating models,” she says.
“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.”
For more information visit www.asbfeo.gov.au/cybersecurity