Survey reveals significant perception gap in cyber awareness among SMEs

A survey conducted by Chubb of SMEs has revealed a significant perception gap in cyber awareness and preparedness among Australia SMEs.

The Chubb SME Cyber Preparedness Survey shows that nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of respondents in Australia believe they are less vulnerable to cyber incidents than their larger competitors; yet the majority of SMEs (60 per cent) have experienced a cyber incident in the last 12 months.

The findings also show that the majority of cyber incidents that occurred over the past year were mainly due to internal factors, such as business interruption from system malfunction and technical fault (27 per cent), data loss through system malfunction and technical fault (23 per cent), and human error (18 per cent).

“Some SMEs believe they are too small to be targeted by cybercriminals or any internal issues will not greatly impact them. In effect, they think they are ‘too small to fail’. However, our own claims data highlights numerous small business compromises and ransomware events that are decimating the cashflow of small businesses,” said Andrew Taylor, Cyber Underwriting Manager, Chubb Asia Pacific.

“In fact, smaller companies have a relatively larger exposure, as they face the same threats that larger businesses face but do not have the means to implement comprehensive protection, leaving significant risk uncovered.”

Overconfidence in managing a cyber incident

The Chubb survey reveals that nearly all SMEs are confident in their ability to overcome a cyber incident. In Australia, 87 per cent of the respondents believe they can overcome an incident, with more than half (56 per cent) believing they can contain an incident within 12 hours. This seeming overconfidence is contradicted by other findings, namely:

  • 67 per cent believe they are not aware of all the cyber threats they face.
  • 30 per cent of SMEs who experienced cyber incidents did not know which data files were affected

Lack of understanding

The survey also uncovered a lack of understanding from SMEs regarding cyber insurance with 59 per cent of SMEs in Australia not fully understanding the insurance solutions available to them while 62 per cent have never purchased cyber insurance before.

“Clearly, there is a need for more education about the value of cyber insurance. At Chubb, our value proposition is more than just the traditional ‘promise to pay’ – we offer enterprise-wide support solutions for the benefit of our insured. That’s why we place emphasis on our preventive advice as well as our response support,” said Tim Stapleton, Senior Vice President, Cyber & Technology, Chubb Overseas General.

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