GRANT AVAILABLE: check your cyber security health
Small businesses – including early childhood education and care (ECEC) services – can now apply for a grant for a certified cyber security health check to determine business risks and areas that need attention as part of the newly launched Cyber Security Small Business Program.
The government program is available to businesses with 19 or less employees from now until June 2020.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the commencement of the grants process, saying “Depending on the number of devices tested, the maximum grant amount is $2,100 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.”
In November, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reported that it received 245 data breach notifications, in which personal information had been compromised, between July and September 2018, with private education services being in the top five worst offenders.
Just over half of the reported incidents – 57.1 per cent – were as a result of malicious or criminal attack, such as the interception of private information whilst open wifi networks were being used, or “hacking” of accounts.
Ms Carnell explained “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.
“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 cyber-crime protection or assume it is covered through their business insurance.
“Small businesses need to understand their anti-virus software only provides a certain level of protection, opening themselves up to loss of data, compromised financial security and identity theft.
Ms Carnell encouraged small businesses to check their eligibility for the program and apply for a cyber security health check as soon as possible.
“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 includes drawing up an online security plan, ensuring their point-of-sale systems are protected, backing-up their data and implementing robust password practices.
“A good starting point to help busy small business owners understand the risks and how to prevent cyber attacks is our Cyber Security Best Practice Guide.”
For more information on the grant process, including factsheets, guidelines and application forms, visit the Cyber Security Small Business Program website.
For more information on other ECEC business information and tools provided by the Australian Government, visit the New business support tools and resources for child care services website.