MYOB has called for Australian SMEs to consider the impact that a cybersecurity attack could have on their business and consider implementing stronger measures to ensure that an online security breach won’t mean having to close shop.
The call to action comes following findings from MYOB’s SME Snapshot that showed Australia’s SME sector remains unfazed from global security threats affecting big business, with the majority of SMEs (87 per cent) stating they consider themselves safe.
The MYOB SME Snapshot found that small businesses who believed they were safe from attack attributed this to having antivirus software installed.
Head of Information & Cyber Security at MYOB, Christie Lim, said that while anti-virus software was an important measure that businesses invest in it was not fail-safe.
“It’s great to see that small businesses are embracing technologies such as the cloud and taking some measures to protect themselves from cyberattacks, however there is still more that can be done to reduce online threats,” Lim said.
“Cloud-based technology is now one of the safest systems businesses can invest in as security constantly being updated by software providers to ensure information is secure. It’s great to see that nearly three-quarters of SMEs (72 per cent) believe their information is either moderately or completely safe when stored in the cloud. Other measures businesses can take include regular review of active accounts to ensure only the right people are given access to company information and adopt multi-factor authentication where available.”
Barriers to protection
The MYOB SME Snapshot found that while the SME sector felt adequately protected from cyber threats, alarmingly only 13 per cent of businesses surveyed stated they had a cybersecurity plan in place.
The biggest barrier SMEs feel they face when improving their cybersecurity is not having sufficient expertise (38 per cent), followed by not having a strong online presence (32 per cent), closely followed by a lack of understanding and finding the whole issue too complex (28 per cent).
“Small businesses don’t have big budgets to spend on securing their online systems. However, there are small steps they can take to beef up their online security including using vendors that adhere to best-practice security protocols.”
Lim recommends that businesses familiarise themselves regularly with best-practice approaches, such as cloud security, through websites such as Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide and seek advice from the Australian Government via the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Moving forward with cyber-tech
The MYOB SME Snapshot found that around half the SMEs surveyed were planning to improve cybersecurity measures in the next 12 months. Updating software, education and changing passwords were the most frequently cited plans.
“Government initiatives such as the instant tax write-off are helping small businesses inject money into parts of their business that really matter, such as improving security measures. This protects business owners and means they can invest more energy in developing other parts of their business such as innovation,” concluded Lim.