Survey to unveil small business cyber security challenges

The havoc caused by someone maliciously entering online and IT systems by hacking and other cybercrime is immediate and costly for business owners, customers, and suppliers throughout the economy.

Around 25 per cent of Australian SMEs experienced a cybercrime in 2017. In a 2017 survey, small-business operators rated cybercrime as the third biggest risk to their business.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) receives such reports on a daily basis from business owners and operators around the country who’ve been hit by a cyber security incident. From paying false invoices to scammers, through to staff inadvertently clicking on suspicious links that bring a business’s entire system down – the reports are alarming and growing.

In the midst of a constantly changing environment, the ACSC is keen to know from the small-business community as to what cyber security means to them. In this regard, the ACSC Small Business Survey is being shared with a range of government and small-business support groups around Australia, inviting members and stakeholders to participate.

The survey serves as an opportunity to share the challenges small businesses face and to know what they’re worried about, from which ACSC can help businesses of all kinds manage risks and minimise harm to their business, staff and customers.

For the Head of the ACSC, Lt General John Frewen, listening to Australia’s small-business community to better understand its concerns and needs – even what they think “cyber security” means – is vital.

“The ACSC Small Business Survey will provide a real-time snapshot of what’s happening on the ground in the some 2.3 million small businesses operating in Australia today, and help us to prioritise the information we develop for this diverse and prevalent sector of the economy,” Lt General Frewen said.

The survey results will assist the ACSC to better understand the types of challenges confronting small businesses, so it can develop tailor-made products and advice to specifically address their needs.

Products would include how-to guides and a new Small Business Guide, with easy-to-understand cyber security advice, that will help businesses manage cyber security risks on a day-to-day basis.

NSW Small Business Commissioner, Robyn Hobbs OAM, knows too well the impacts of cyber security incidents on small businesses.

“Falling victim to cybercrime can be absolutely devastating for small-business owners, taking a toll not only on the business, but also on their emotional and mental health,” Hobbs said.

Founder and CEO of the Small Business Association of Australia, Anne Nalder, has echoed Hobbs’ sentiments, and urges small businesses to take part in the survey to help the ACSC deliver increasingly targeted advice and assistance.

“Small business owners need to understand what a cyber security incident is, how it can affect their business, the different types of cyber threats and how they can develop strong defences against those threats,” Ms Nalder said.

South Australia’s Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, reiterated the benefits of completing the survey.

“Inadequate cyber security has the potential to destroy a small business. By completing this survey, the ACSC will be able to better deliver support to you,” Chapman said.

Further information about the survey and how to complete it is available at

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