Secure your business from cyber criminals

A GUIDE to help small business operators understand the risks and how to prevent cyber attacks has been published by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the Cyber Security Best Practice Guide was published after researched showed 60 per cent of small firms that experienced a cyber breach went out of business within the following six months.

Ms Carnell said many small businesses lacked time and resources but couldn’t afford to be complacent about cyber security.

“Surveys have shown that 87 per cent of small businesses believe antivirus software alone is enough to keep them safe,” she said.

“Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.

“Online threats are just as real as physical threats. Cyber security needs to be taken seriously, like having locks on your doors and a burglar alarm.”

Ms Carnell said the guide suggested business operators get advice from a trusted adviser.

“Accountants, IT specialists and skilled family or friends are the go-to sources,” she said.

“There are also useful websites like staysmartonline.gov.au that provide simple, easy-to-understand advice.”

Ms Carnell said small businesses should not be afraid of going online because the opportunities and benefits could be immense.

“Many small businesses have successfully blended their physical and virtual shopfronts to establish sustainable operating models,” she said.

“It would be an incredible shame if small businesses shut themselves out of the online market because of fears about cyber security.

“There are risks attached to most activities, even crossing the road. Taking sensible precautions broadens opportunities and heightens the rewards.”

For more information, visit asbfeo.gov.au/cybersecurity.