Home Security Australian firms spend less on security than US, UK, Germany and Singapore

Annual security costs for companies are much less in Australia than in Germany, the US, the UK and Singapore, the global cyber security firm Malwarebytes says in a report released on Wednesday.

The report was compiled by Osterman Research who spoke to 900 senior IT decision-makers across the five countries, asking them about the effect cyber crime was having on their businesses.

They were also asked about the IT security costs associated with remediation, hiring, recruiting and retention.

security events

The findings covering the Australian market:

  • Total annual security costs for Australian organisations were the lowest among the five nations surveyed at US$861,789, far less than the global average of US$1,167,178.
  • Australian organisations experienced fewer security incidents over the past 12 months than the global average of the five nations surveyed, But the survey said this may be set to change with the recent data breach regulation requirements coming into effect.
  • Sixty-seven percent of Australian organisations were affected by some type of security threat compared to the global average of 73%.
  • “Major” events in Australia were not as common as elsewhere. The report found that Australian organisations suffered an average of only 0.6 “major” events during 2017.
  • Despite this, Australian organisations suffered their fair share of attacks, with 67% saying they had been affected by some sort of threat during the previous year. They were also more likely than the global average to experience ransomware infections.
  • Salaries for security professionals in Australia were the highest among the five countries surveyed.
  • The average starting salary for an entry-level security professional in Australia is substantially higher than the global average.
  • Despite this, the prevalence of black hat activity in Australia was similar to the global average of other nations surveyed at 41%.
  • The average security budget for Australian organisations was set to increase. The average budget was nearly US$462,000 for a 2500-employee organisation in 2017, and would increase by almost 19% in 2018, the highest among the nations surveyed.
  • That said, security budgets in Australia were lower than the global average by 14%, and despite increasing, were still projected to be 10% lower in 2018.
  • Australian organisations spent the least among the nations surveyed on remediating active compromises – 7.9% of their 2017 budget – significantly lower than the global average of 12.5%.
  • The cost of remediating major events was the lowest among those surveyed. Australian organisations would spend the least among the nations surveyed to remediate a “major” event if it were to occur – an average of just under US$166,000 – which is significantly lower than the global average of nearly US$290,000.
  • Threats were taken seriously by Australian organisations, but only to a point.
  • Australian organisations were less likely than the global average to treat problems like ransomware and phishing as “very serious”, and they were much less likely than the global average to consider problems like nation-state attacks and hacktivism as very serious problems.
  • Australia had the lowest level of grey hat activity with only 3.4% of security professionals indulging in such activity. This was lower than the global average of 4.6%.

“As malware and cyber criminal activity advances and becomes more complex, the report highlights a growing need for Australian businesses to revisit how they identify, protect against and remediate malicious cyber activity,” said Malwarebytes regional director, Australia and New Zealand, Jim Cook.

“It is a concern that this report indicates that Australian businesses were more likely to experience ransomware infections than their global counterparts.

"Despite the increased risk facing Australian businesses, our budgets remain the lowest of the nations surveyed. This highlights how important it is for cyber security to remain a top priority for Australian organisations, especially as they look to set their business strategies and plans in motion for 2019.”

Graphic: courtesy Osterman Research


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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