Australian businesses know their cybersecurity has never been more vital. Yet, businesses are increasingly falling prey to cybercriminals, losing hundreds of millions of dollars every year.1 When there is so much at stake, how are business leaders managing the ongoing threat and safeguarding future growth?
A rising threat
Cybercrime2 is on the rise in Australia, with a breach now reported every seven minutes, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).3
Its data shows not only is cybercrime becoming more frequent, but it is also growing more expensive and the bigger a business, the more at risk it may be.
There is far more at stake however than a one-off financial loss. Even if a business can sustain the immediate fallout, it may take months or even years to rehabilitate its image, says Lorenzo Schirru, Head of Fraud, Strategy, Risk and Governance at Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services.
“The damage to a business’ reputation and brand can be enormous. There can be customer attrition and customers may openly question your business and ask, ‘well, am I safe with you?”
Eli Glotzer, Head of New and Emerging Growth Industries at Macquarie Business Banking, says cybersecurity has become “one of the key challenges for small to mediumsized enterprise” and one business owners cannot afford to be complacent about.
“If you were unable to trade for a week, if you couldn’t access any systems, or if you incurred a significant financial loss, would your business be able to survive?” asks Glotzer.
“If the answer is ‘no’, then the next question is logical. What are you doing to mitigate that risk?”
6 ways to protect your business online
1 Protect your ‘primary asset’
It is essential customer data is treated as a business priority. Key to this is clarifying what information the business actually needs from customers and what their responsibilities are when recording it.
2 Mitigate this $227 million threat
Often an attempt on a business will first show up in an inbox, with 91% of all cyberattacks starting with email4, according to Microsoft.
One of the most common methods is known as a Business Email Compromise attack in which criminals impersonate a known person in order to fraudulently obtain access or money — sometimes even sending a message from an authentic email address.
In Australia, they cost businesses $227 million in 2021, the most of any scam affecting businesses, according to the ACCC.5
In sectors where substantial sums of money are commonly being transferred, the risks posed by these types of scams are particularly acute.
3 Strengthen your weakest link
Types of attack can differ, but many rely on the same things to be successful: human error. In any process, people are going to be a primary target. All it takes is one staff member to fall victim to expose the entire business.
Business owners cannot monitor every threat their entity faces but they can ensure their employees’ training is up to speed on how to spot a warning sign.
Businesses need to remain vigilant and ensure they are validating who they’re speaking with when dealing with external communications.
4 Partner up
Not every small business has the scale to employ a full cybersecurity division, but that does not mean they do not have other resources at their disposal.
5 Prepare for the worst
While business leaders are treating cybersecurity as a key priority, things can still go wrong. In case they do, it is crucial contingency plans are ready to go. For those plans to kick into action, there must also be a culture of transparency. Mistakes inevitably will be made so staff need to feel comfortable reporting them.
6 Work backwards
When assessing their cybersecurity, robust businesses start by analysing where the biggest risks lie. Understand what is most valuable and asking yourself what someone would want to steal will change industry to industry.
If you’d like further information, please contact your Macquarie Business Banking relationship manager, or request a call.
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