Majority of small businesses not prepared for cyberattacks

Only 46% are ready to deal with threats, study reveals

Majority of small businesses not prepared for cyberattacks


By Jayden Fennell

New research by online small business lender OnDeck shows that 50% of small businesses are concerned about cybersecurity threats, and the majority of SMEs are not prepared.

In OnDeck’s report, 46% of small businesses say they are prepared for cyber threats, while 41% admit they are not prepared. Meanwhile, 13% of small businesses do not know if their business is prepared for a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity is a hot topic in the business world right now, with millions of Optus and Medibank customers’ data compromised in recent cyberattacks.

OnDeck CEO Cameron Poolman (pictured above) said Australia was home to over two million small businesses and they were truly the engine room of the economy.

“It is worrying to learn that less than half the nation’s small enterprises are prepared for a cyber-attack,” Poolman said. “This doesn’t just leave small businesses vulnerable, it also creates concerns around the security of data involving customers, employees and suppliers.”

Poolman said following the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS) declaring October to be “Cybersecurity Awareness Month”, he wanted to encourage all small businesses to take advantage of a range of freely available resources, including those offered by the ACSC, to review their cybersecurity measures and invest in improved security if necessary.

“A separate survey by the ACSC in 2020 found 62% of small businesses have experienced a cybersecurity incident,” he said.

“Yet almost half of all small businesses reported spending less than $500 annually on cybersecurity.”

Poolman said the mindset at OnDeck was simple: cyber threats were not a matter of if but of when.

“Ever since 2015, we have been proactive in implementing and testing our cyber defences and learning from the strategies used by other service providers to ensure our loan approval and processing are protected from cyber threats,” he said.

“Cyber-attacks are not new and we have recognised that our customers’ data is valuable and must be protected. Given the relative youth of our business, we are not relying on outdated legacy infrastructure like some of our competitors and have adopted cloud strategies regarding data storage.”

Poolman said the recent Optus data breach, which was the result of a massive cyberattack, had highlighted the vulnerability of small businesses which had far fewer resources to dedicate to cybersecurity than leading companies.

He said OnDeck’s Lightning Loan, which can processed and made available within a few hours, allowed small businesses to “address their cybersecurity needs and act quickly to plug the gaps before further exposing the business to significant cybersecurity risks”.

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