The Cost of Cyber Security Threats for Australian Businesses
We all know that cyber security threats are a real and present danger for Australian businesses. But just how much of a danger are they?
A quick look at the numbers tells us that cyber risks are set to damage Australian businesses big-time.
It’s estimated that by 2025 cyber crime is going to cost the world US$10.5 trillion annually. That’s such a huge figure that it’s practically incomprehensible.
And that’s not just in direct costs. This figure is a sum total of the damage caused by cyber security threats. It covers things like:
- Stolen business funds
- Stolen intellectual property
- The destruction of irreplaceable businesses data
- The loss of associated personal data
- Lost staff working hours caused by the associated cyber attacks
- The cost of investigation, clean-up, and business network restoration
- The cost for the business of getting back on its feet
And the really concerning thing about this is that cybercriminals know that these numbers are achievable. Particularly in Australia.
Australia isn’t prepared against large-scale cyber security threats
Back in 2019 the Australian Department of Defence undertook a review of Australia’s cyber risk preparedness measures. They ran through a series of cyber risk scenarios, determining potential cyber attacks and our response as a nation to these attacks.
The scenarios themselves started out fairly innocuous. Australians queuing online to buy tickets online to the 2022 AFL grand final would find the system is down. Unbeknownst to them, this is the first wave of a multi-step cyber attack. During this confusion, a second cyber attack would disrupt international supply lines, creating a shortage of supplies that keep our essential services running.
An alternate scenario saw cyber criminals launching attacks against critical infrastructure, like the power grid and food supply chains, or by taking control over autonomous vehicles.
While these scenarios took a country-wide focus, the unsettling this is that every Australian business has the potential to be a target of these attacks—if they haven’t already.
The cost of cyber security threats to Australian businesses
An IT security threat for a Brisbane business can end up costing on average $276,000. Per attack. For many businesses, that’s a number that they can’t recover from.
And with the rapid switch to remote work that we’ve seen in the past 18 months, cyber criminals have been given the opportunity to exploit business that simply aren’t prepared. In fact, the remote work revolution and work-anywhere phenomenon has highlighted the vulnerabilities in traditional business security systems.
This is starkly apparent in the context of home office scenarios. According to recent reports, the leading causes of cyber security threats and breaches were:
- Process weaknesses
- Out-of-date security tech
- Third-party apps
We’ve spoken about cyber security threats like ransomware attacks before. But how do these other cyber risks affect businesses?
A process weakness takes the form of a failure or vulnerability in your cybersecurity processes and protocols. And, usually, it comes down to simple human error. It can be a missing step in your business’ security system, or simply forgetting to update your operating system to a newly-patched version. Or it could be your users not following best-practice password protocol.
These weaknesses in your security processes are easy for cyber criminals to exploit. So it’s critical that you review your processes regularly to ensure you’re protected against the latest cyber risks.
Out-of-date security tech
Similar to process weakness, out-of-date security systems are a big cyber risk for businesses. It might seem like a hassle, but updating your security software is one of the best ways to protect your business against cyber attacks.
Having the latest security software updates ensures that the latest known cyber security threats and issues are patched against, and there are no known vulnerabilities for criminals to exploit.
The operative word here is “known” threats. There may be other cyber security threats out there—they just haven’t been discovered yet. But rest assured that your platform providers and cyber security software companies are on the hunt 24/7 to uncover and fix any vulnerabilities.
The cyber risks of third party apps
Have you heard of Shadow IT? Given its name, it already sounds shady and underhanded, but it’s actually a fairly benign phenomenon. On the user end, at least.
Shadow IT occurs when your teams and employees use apps, devices, and services that haven’t been approved by your IT team. Shadow IT are the programs they download to speed up processes, the messenger apps they use because they prefer them. It’s the action of saving their work to a personal cloud folder, rather than the approved business location whether this is a server or your own cloud provider.
From their point of view it’s harmless. But in using Shadow IT, your teams are using technology that hasn’t been allowed for in your business’ IT security plans. If your IT team isn’t aware of an application or piece of software that’s being used, they can’t ensure that it’s secure.
As well as causing inefficiencies in your workflows, Shadow IT can lead to data leaks, compliance violations, and security system vulnerabilities. It makes sense: the more apps and platforms that your business uses, the broader your IT attack surface becomes.
So make sure that your teams know exactly what they should be using in their work. Ensure they’re using these platforms, and get rid of the rest.
Australia might not be prepared against cyber security threats—but you can be
While Australia as a country isn’t prepared against large-scale cyber security threats, as a businesses you can still do everything possible to ensure your workspace and networks are secure.
At GPK Group, we provide robust cyber security for Brisbane businesses to ensure you’re as prepared as possible against potential cyber risks and cyber security threats.
Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation discussion on how we can help keep your business safe and secure against the latest cyber security threats.