Cyber breaches across the world cause devastating effects, impacting hundreds of thousands of people and small businesses. According to the ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report, during the 2020-2021 financial year, over 67,000 cybercrime reports have been lodged in Australia – a 13% increase from the previous year. Self-reported loses from cybercrime have totaled more than $33 billion, of which almost a quarter affected entities associated with Australia’s critical infrastructure.
Whilst the private sector has taken cybersecurity seriously, typically, public funding for cybersecurity needs has always been a secondary effort or a last priority. Securing all hardware, software and the information that goes along with it can be a massive and expensive undertaking, difficult to complete without additional funding. So what funding is left for Australian small businesses in the wake of the May elections and delay in budget announcement until the end of 2022?
Early in the year, the Liberal Government promised us a $9.9 billion cybersecurity budget which would enhance Australia’s Security as well as its technological capability. This promise included the vow to support the creation of 1,900 jobs across Australia including regional positions, as well as $5 billion specifically dedicated to improving the cybersecurity posture of small businesses and industry over the next 10 years. This also included the creation of further education and training of personnel in the ICT sector, namely data scientists, ICT engineers, and cyber security professionals.