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Cyber-attacks cost affected small business an average of A$10,299 in 2017 – a 56% increase over 2016 said Norton by Symantec.

Its Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey Australia 2017 reveals 23% of Small to Medium businesses had a cyber-attack last year.

Some 37% of SMBs don’t think they would remain in business if denied critical information for just one week.

“For the many Australian SMBs facing a resource crunch, the cost of cybercrime is not just financial. Cyber attacks have the potential to significantly affect how a business operates. How it is perceived by customers, particularly in the event of lengthy downtime or a data breach is vital. Cyber attacks have the power to cripple SMBs, regardless of industry,” said Mark Gorrie, Director, Norton Business Unit, Symantec Pacific Region.

Ransomware is still the preferred method of cyber-attack

Given data is so valuable and lack of effective backup it is not surprising that ransomware affected 10% of SMBs and 16% paid.

Interestingly 22% of SMBs that had experienced a cyber-attack before were more likely to pay the ransom.

Back-up or crack-up

Only 32% of SMBs bother to regularly backup valuable data. Let’s not even discuss whether its real back-up that works – tested, replicable, restorable and stored off-site.

But the message is getting through – back up ‘continuously’ to an off-site location and back-up both the operating environment and data so that a restore is quick.


Internet security is no longer a luxury

Sign-ups for internet (cloud) based security protection was up 19% to 87%.

Internet security sign-ups to prevent potential threats was 60%. Some 34% believed it was simply good business practice.

Older business operators (50-59 years) were more likely to implement internet security solutions as part of good business practice.

Password protection of company devices (laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphone) was up in 2017 (80-88%). This compares to 72-82% in 2016.

There were fewer opportunities for compromise/access of sensitive information by unauthorised persons. Fewer micro-and-small business operators accessed financial data from a mobile (36%) or personal device (46%) compared to those surveyed in 2016.