Program to help improve cyber resilience of SA and QLD SMEs

IT security, online security, cyber security czar, cyberinsurance, cyber resilience

Not-for-profit cyber security advocacy organisation AustCyber, with the support of the governments of South Australia and Queensland, has announced a partnership with Victorian-based cyber security firm Cynch to deliver a six-month pilot project to improve the cyber resilience of small businesses in those two states.

The pilot cyber fitness program seeks to address the cyber security resilience needs for each respective state’s defence supply chain, providing assistance towards targeted defence SMEs in improving their cyber security measures.

“Everyone involved is dedicating their time, expertise and passion to improving the cyber security of the Australian supply chain,” Cynch co-founder and CEO, Susie Jones, said on the occasion of the launch. “The insights we gain will shed light on growing areas of risk and highlight where more support is needed. It’s our absolute pleasure to be partnering with the South Australian and Queensland governments on this initiative. Alongside the Primes, AustCyber and 50 suppliers, we will forge a path to cyber fitness for every Australian defence supplier.”

Consultation with Defence and industry has identified the fact that more practical assistance is required for most SMEs supplying the defence industry to ensure more effective cyber security measures. This will, in turn, help improve SMEs’ ability to supply to the defence sector, and secure the nation’s defence supply chain.

Paula Oliver, who manages AustCyber’s South Australian Node said the announcement would have wide-ranging benefits. “With a substantial proportion of businesses in South Australia being SMEs supplying to the defence industry in state and in country, this initiative will help uplift their cyber resilience and capability, while increasing their ability to secure defence contracts and be more competitive in the market,” Oliver said.

Chief Executive of Defence SA, Richard Price, pointed out that South Australia has a highly skilled and capable SME sector with a long and proud history of contributing to some of Australia’s most complex defence projects.

“The South Australian Government is committed to creating a business climate that supports local industry to compete for both prime and global supply chain roles in Defence and security projects,” Price said. “This initiative has the potential to bolster these endeavours, providing our local SMEs with the tools and capability needed to protect them against cyber security risks and ensure they are at the forefront of best practice.”

The project will provide access to a reputable program of quality cyber security training and support intended to result in cyber hygiene uplift, protecting their organisations against the loss of time, money, private information and reputational damage caused by cyber threats while at the same time also helping the businesses meet the required criteria to work with the defence sector.

“Queensland SMEs play a vital role in Australia’s defence industry and it is critical they understand their cyber security risks,” Brigadier Alison Creagh (Ret’d) AM CSC, Queensland’s Strategic Defence Advisor – Land, said. “It’s important we support them to better protect themselves and their customers, improve their resilience and create greater confidence for them as an integral part of the defence supply chain. This pilot has the potential to tick all of these boxes and significantly uplift the cyber fitness of participating Queensland SMEs.”

Analysis of the outcomes at the end of the project will be used to inform a future expansion of the program for more SMEs throughout Australia, through AustCyber’s national network of cyber security nodes.