Australian small businesses struggle with cybersecurity

University-linked survey highlights the difficulties small businesses face in understanding preventing, and remediating cyberattacks.

Fully 40% of Australian small businesses spent less than $1,000 protecting their systems and data from cybersecurity attacks last year—and 19% spent nothing at all—according to a new university-led survey of companies with fewer than 20 employees.

Launched at AustCyber’s Cyber Week 2000 conference, the Cyber Fitness 2020 survey—conducted by AustCyber in association with Deakin University, RMIT University’s Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, and Cynch Security—surveyed a range of small business owners about their cybersecurity awareness and practices.

The survey was designed to recognise the practices amongst small businesses—which in Australia generally refers to companies with 20 or fewer employees—that are often lumped in with larger medium businesses by surveys that use the catchall phrase ‘small and medium businesses’ (SMBs) or ‘small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs).

Small businesses just don’t have the resources

The 2.3 million small businesses with 0 to 19 employees comprise 97.7% of all Australian companies, according to recent government figures, with just 50,338 medium businesses employing 20 to 199 staff—yet medium businesses often have very different IT resources to draw upon.

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