Small business urged to improve cyber awareness

Media release | 14 May 2017

Almost 1 in 3 small businesses in NSW have been victims of cybercrime according to a new survey released today from the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner.

The survey of 1400 small and medium sized businesses shows around half of the companies surveyed felt their limited online presence - often just a business website with contact details and social media – meant they’re less exposed to cybercrime.

NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs, says this is not the case.

“Doing business online can open up huge opportunities but small businesses need to take full account of the risks – for example something as simple as using email every day or taking a phone call can present a big cyber security risk to any business,” Ms Hobbs said.

“Research shows around half of cyber security incidents target small businesses and almost 60 per cent of cybercrime impacts small and medium sized businesses.

“Our survey shows two out of three small firms in NSW said they felt well informed about the risks of cybercrime and 80 percent of companies said they felt they could respond to a security breach – making them more confident than most ASX listed companies.

“Going digital can be a fantastic way of growing your business but there's no room for complacency - the risks are real and we’re encouraging small businesses to be aware and stay safe.

“The survey shows small businesses remain concerned about a variety of cyber security events including fraudulent emails or phone calls, social media hacking, online banking fraud, crypto-ransomware and malware.

“They also want help when it comes to tackling cybercrime – more than 90 percent said they needed risk management tools to assist in protecting them from cybercrime,” Ms Hobbs said.

“Some simple ways for small businesses to manage cyber risks to their business include educating and training staff, continuously updating software, using two-factor identification for emails and payments, encrypting important customer files," Ms Hobbs said.

Businesses can also access the NSW Government’s Business Connect program and its team of specialist digital business advisors by calling 1300 134 359.

For more information and to see the full report visit www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au

Download the media release