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03 December 2018

Grants open for small business cyber security health checks

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell welcomed the commencement of the grants process for small businesses to access cyber security testing, under the Cyber Security Small Business Program.

“From now until June 2020, eligible small businesses with 19 or less employees can apply for a grant for a certified cyber security health check to determine business risks and areas that need attention,” Ms Carnell said.

“Depending on the number of devices tested, the maximum grant amount is $2,100 or up to 50% of eligible project costs. The tests will be carried out by providers approved by the council of Registered Ethical Security Testers Australia New Zealand.

“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%) 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.

“I encourage small businesses to check their eligibility on the Cyber Security Small Business Program website 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.”