Government's new cyber security strategy could benefit small businesses, experts say
Security experts have welcomed the federal government's new push to create a one-stop shop for cyber security, with the Prime Minister announcing a brand new addition to her department which will focus on protecting business interests.
The move comes as more small businesses have faced an increasing number of security threats over the past few years, including data breaches which have revealed customers' credit card details.
Rob Forsyth, non-executive director of security firm Sophos, told SmartCompany this morning the government's move will create a much simpler dialogue between existing arms of cyber security enforcement.
"The bringing together of these departments represents the biggest move, because while there hasn't been a turf war, there have been departments focused on their own area."
"We've needed a blanket to cover all the different activities happening in cyber security, and I think it will represent a great move to align these areas, to help protect small business."
Julia Gillard announced yesterday a new Australian Cyber Security Centre would be set up before the end of the year, which would combine cyber policing efforts from different agencies, including the Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
"Malicious cyber activity will likely be with us for many decades to come, so we must be prepared for a long, persistent fight," Gillard said at the announcement yesterday.
"Australia is an attractive target for a range of malicious cyber actors including politically motivated hackers and criminal networks to nation states."
The move comes as more experts are referring to cyber-security as the "fifth pillar" of global warfare.
The business community in particular has welcomed new efforts to help educate SMEs on cyber security. While hacking attempts have mostly focused on larger businesses, many are targeting several SMEs at once, as many of them aren't using modern security methods.
While the new department would be focused on protecting government security networks as well, much of its efforts will be directed towards working with business on protecting valuable consumer information.
The new centre will combine the Cyber Security Operations Centre, the Attorney-General's CERT Australia, along with elements from the Australian Federal Police and Australian Crime Commission.
Gillard said yesterday the response was needed due to an increasing amount of cybercrime activity happening in the Asia-Pacific region.
Governments across the world have been working with business to address security issues as hackers may be more likely to attack business networks to perform financial attacks, rather than more well-protected government networks.
Forsyth says the benefits to business, while not necessarily direct, will come in the form of education. The more businesses which know what they are doing with regard to cyber-security, the better, he says.
"Many small businesses have been unable to keep up, whether it be with the protocols around designing a website, or so on. They have difficulty with that level of depth or expertise."
"I think we'll end up with better security for small business, and a greater level of trust. Generally, we're going to see smaller businesses a major beneficiary of a bigger push into tech."