Security Market Segment LS
Saturday, 21 September 2013 19:09

Warning: Aussie SMBs most at threat from cyber attacks

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Australian small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are right at the frontline of cyber threats, like their counterparts in other countries, as global attacks hit 75% of SMBs last year, according to one security firm, which says Aussie SMBs have also been under concerted attack.

In a warning from McAfee – now an Intel company - about the ever-present security threat to Aussie small businesses, the security firm’s SMB Manager Asia Pacific, Robbie Upcroft, says that with 75% of global cyber attacks in 2012 targeted at SMBs ”there is a real imperative to better understand how to keep business assets safe – from data to devices, email and web.”

And, just five months ago, in its May State of Cybersecurity in Australian SMBs report, McAfee warned that almost half of SMBs in Australia had experienced a targeted attack in the past 12 months (44.5 per cent) with one in five (21 per cent) of this number experiencing three or more attacks.

And, in a worrying sign, McAfee found that just under half (46 per cent) of Australian SMBs indicated they had experienced security breach or data loss “by deliberate sabotage from current or ex-employees in the last year.”

Upcroft’s timely warning and advice comes just ahead of a Webinar he will conduct for Australian (and New Zealand) businesses this Tuesday, 24 September, where he says he will provide a “comprehensive, easy-to-manage security strategy to defend your business, while you focus on growing it.” Webinar times for each State and New Zealand are: Western Australia 10.00am, South Australia and Northern Territory 11.30am, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania 12pm, and New Zealand 2pm.

According to Upcroft Tuesday’s Webinar is aimed at “demystifying the cyber threats” that are impacting SMBs.

“This webinar provides a comprehensive, easy-to-manage security strategy for SMBs to defend their business from the high cost of data breaches and reputation damage," he says.

And, earlier this year, Upcroft told iTWire’s Ray Shaw that the security needs of SMB’s (25-250 employees) had been “under-serviced by antivirus/malware protection companies including McAfee” but that was about to change.

“The average small business, and I know as I have been there, can’t afford the solutions or the full-time system administrator and support functions. Something like 97% of Australia’s business is classified as SMB and McAfee decided to approach this market in a different way,” Upcroft told iTWire.

In that interview, Upcroft said that McAfee had looked at SMB specific needs and a comprehensive survey concluded that Australian SMBs are under constant attack from both external and internal threats. “Without proper security measures in place it seems data loss is not just likely, but inevitable,” he warned.

Upcroft will expand on issues surrounding cyber threats to SMBs, and ways for businesses to develop strategies to counter the threats, in Tuesday’s webinar.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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