Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable to cyber security breaches, as they often have limited resources for cyber security. A small business survey highlights that almost half spend less than $500 on cyber security annually. There is an average of 1 cyber-attack every 10 minutes in Australia, with 43% of these attacks targeting SMEs.
Flexible Cyber Security training for small businesses can help to equip you and your team with the skills to protect your organisation from cyber threats. Small to medium businesses (SMBs) can also apply for small business grants for training from the Federal Government.
What is a cyber threat and what damage can it do?
A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal information or disrupt digital life.
Cyber threats create risks for your small business. It affects all aspects -- your money, data and IT equipment at risk. If malicious actors gain access to your network, they can inflict damage with what they find. This includes:
Access to customer data
Customer credit card information
Your business’s financial details
Product designs - especially those subject to patents and copyrights
Business growth plans
Processes involving production, logistics and more
Your staff's Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
A report found that 60 per cent of small business fold within six months of a breach. While this illustrates one of the worst-case scenarios, other consequences can include:
Financial losses from theft of banking information
Economic losses from disruption of operations
Unexpected costs to deal with cyber hacking
Damage to your brand and reputation, once customers and staff learn their information, is compromised
How to protect your SME from cyber security breaches
You can protect your company by keeping up with the latest security ideas for businesses. Kasperky shares some tips:
Use strong passwords: Ensure that all employees use strong passwords with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Encourage staff to change their passwords frequently.
Keep your software updated: Ensure that all software, including operating systems, web browsers and antivirus software, are updated regularly. Updates often contain security patches that can protect against known vulnerabilities.
Use firewalls: A firewall can block unauthorised access to your network and prevent malware from infiltrating your system.
Educate your employees: Regular cyber security awareness is essential. Educate your team on recognising phishing emails, suspicious websites and other common tactics hackers use to access your system.
Use two-factor authentication: Use 2FA or two-factor authentication for all sensitive accounts. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code or other authentication method and a password.
Limit permissions: Limit access to sensitive information to only those employees who need it to perform their job duties. This can help prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information.
Backup your data: Regularly back up all critical data and store it securely. This practice helps ensure your data is not lost during a cyber-attack or other data loss event.
Have a cybersecurity plan: This plan can include standard operating procedures for minimising the impact of a cyber-attack and helping your business quickly recover.
The Skills and Training Boost for Small Business
The budget for cyber security measures varies depending on the size and complexity of the business. Still, it is generally recommended that small businesses allot a minimum of 5-10 per cent of the IT budget to cyber security.
You can find some support from the Federal Government. We want to clarify that this is not tax or financial advice but that you should discuss these with your finance team or accountant.
The Small Business Technology Investment Boost and Small Business Skills and Training Boost by the Federal Government offer small business grants for employee training to make up for your expenses.
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), subject to law, small businesses (with an aggregated annual turnover of less than AU$50 million) can get an additional 20 per cent deduction on expenditures incurred for digitising its operations on business expenses and depreciating assets such as portable payment devices, cyber security systems or subscriptions to cloud-based services.
Businesses may continue to deduct expenditures ineligible for the bonus deduction under the existing tax law. The ATO will provide further details on eligible expenses once the law has passed.
An annual $100,000 cap on expenditures will apply to each qualifying income year. Businesses can continue to deduct expenses over $100,000 under existing law.
Deduct an additional 20 per cent of expenditures incurred to provide eligible external training courses to employees by registered providers in Australia.
Your business may continue to deduct expenditures ineligible for the bonus deduction per the existing tax law.
This measure will apply to expenditures incurred in the period commencing from 7:30 pm AEDT 29 March 2022 until 30 June 2024.
SME training to prevent cyber attacks
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) shares that Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) operate in a different environment, with 97% having less than 20 staff. Because of this, managing many priorities with fewer resources can be challenging.
The team at Lumify designed flexible training delivery options, including self-paced programs and drop-in sessions. They balance taking time out of work with supporting employees' cyber awareness and career progression.
Self-paced learning provides introductory materials you can study on your own. Materials include technical instructor recordings, course content and interactive exercises.
'Drop-in' sessions let students study the materials independently and then book 45-minute sessions with an instructor to discuss specific questions. Students can email their questions beforehand to the instructor to maximise. Trainers deliver these sessions remotely.
Our security awareness training helps educate every member of your organisation on protecting your business from external cyber threats. Courses include:
End-user security awareness training to help your team understand potential cyber threats and establish processes for cyber safety.
Foundational cyber security certification training to equip identified team members with skills to get started on their cyber career track and advance as the company grows.
Lumify's small business training for cyber security is available across Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Albury, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra. Download the eBook on Digital Skilling for SMBs. Feel free to contact us about our customised training requirements for small businesses.