The Prime Minister has unveiled the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, which will see $1.67 billion invested in building new cyber-security and law enforcement capabilities, protecting the essential services, assisting businesses to protect themselves and raising community understanding over a 10-year period.
“The digital economy is the future of Australia’s economy. This has been demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic. We are seeing how much Australians are interacting online — for work, healthcare, education, entertainment and shopping,” PM Scott Morrison said.
“We want to enlist all Australians in the fight to create a more cyber-safe Australia — you are our secret weapon in our cyber-security strategy. And we want to give you the tools to protect your family and your business.”
Part of the strategy is a $12.3 million expansion to the ACSC’s 24/7 cyber-security hotline to enhance the provision of cyber-security advice and technical assistance for SMEs.
“We will support businesses to protect themselves so they can succeed in the digital economy,” Mr Morrison said.
The government will also funnel $8.3 to the Cyber Security Connect and Protect Program to equip trusted organisations to raise the cyber security of SMEs in their local area.
Large businesses and service providers are also being encouraged to provide small businesses with cyber-security information and tools as part of “bundles” of secure services, such as threat blocking, antivirus and cyber-security awareness training.
Integrating cyber-security products into other service offerings is expected to help protect SMEs at scale and recognises that many businesses cannot employ dedicated cyber-security staff.
A dedicated online cyber-security training program hosted on cyber.gov.au is also expected to become available to help upskill SMEs and their staff members.
Commenting on the government’s cyber plan, Susie Jones, CEO and co-founder of Cynch Security, opined that the strategy relies heavily on the co-operation of big business, underscoring small-business participation.
“While it’s great to see a lot more attention and some worthwhile direct support for small businesses (e.g. SMB hotline), the strategy largely depends on larger organisations and the broader business ecosystem helping small businesses,” Ms Jones said.
“There’s very little being proposed to help the growing number of business owners that recognise the risk they’re sitting on and want to take action to protect their customers, partners and livelihoods.”