Grants open for small business cyber security health checks

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has welcomed the commencement of the grants process for small businesses to access cyber security testing, under the Cyber Security Small Business Program.

From now until June 2020, eligible small businesses with 19 or fewer employees can apply for a grant for a certified cyber security health check to determine business risks and areas that need attention. Depending on the number of devices tested, the maximum grant amount is $2100 or up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs. The tests will be carried out by providers approved by the council of Registered Ethical Security Testers Australia New Zealand.

“Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and Australian statistics show more cyber attacks are hitting small businesses. It has been estimated that cybercrime costs Australians more than $1 billion a year,” Ms Carnell said. “Research also shows around one in five small businesses report they have been the target of a cyber attack and over half (56 per cent) either don’t have cybercrime protection or assume it is covered through their business insurance.”

Ms Carnell stressed that small businesses need to understand that their anti-virus software only provides a certain level of protection, opening themselves up to loss of data, compromised financial security and identity theft.

“I encourage small businesses to check their eligibility on the Cyber Security Small Business Program website and apply for a cyber security health check as soon as possible,” Ms Carnell said.

In addition, the ASBFEO said that small-business owners need to make sure they are aware of cyber risks and have measures in place to prevent and respond to attacks. This would include drawing up an online security plan, ensuring their point-of-sale systems are protected, backing up their data and implementing robust password practices.

Small-business owners are also urged to read ASBFEO’s Cyber Security Best Practice Guide for a better understanding of cyber cyber attacks and how to prevent them.

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