The Council of Small Business Organizations Australia (COSBOA), Telstra and Commonwealth Bank have joined forces to launch a new program called Cyber Wardens. It aims to educate and provide tools to Australian small businesses to help them protect themselves from cyber threats.
Given the veritable cornucopia of data breaches over the past few weeks, the announcement certainly comes at the right time.
Cyber threats and scams are estimated to cost the Australian economy $29 billion a year. According to the Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC), 43% of cybercrimes target small businesses, costing them an average of $9,000.
Currently in its pilot phase, Cyber Wardens is based on the ASCS Essential Eight strategies to help mitigate cybercrime. This includes ISM mapping, security vulnerability assessment and application control,
Receive daily company news.
The latest stories, funding information and expert advice. Free registration.
According to COSBOA, the e-learning platform will be designed by and for small businesses with the aim of becoming the nation’s first workplace cybersecurity certification for the small business sector. Much like a firefighter, a cyber guard will be someone within a business who can help ensure the business is protected from threats.
COSBOA says lack of resources makes cybersecurity difficult for small businesses
Cyber Wardens will be free, as COSBOA has identified a lack of resources and time as the main reasons why small businesses struggle to improve their cybersecurity skills. It also found that six in 10 small businesses rate their cybersecurity as poor, in need of improvement, or just fine.
Partner companies such as Telstra and Commonwealth Bank have made this free resource possible.
“We believe having a Cyber Warden on the team will help give small business owners confidence that their business and their customers are protected,” COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said in a statement. communicated.
“Innovative small business owners in Australia are used to wearing many hats, but we can’t just add another task to the to-do or ‘too difficult’ lists. Targeting employees, as well as owners, the Cyber Wardens program will equip Australia’s small business workforce with the mindset, skills and tools to engage more easily and securely. security in an increasingly digital world.
Ethical implementation is key
Small businesses that are more digitally savvy is great, but it raises the question of expertise and compensation. In the best-case scenario, companies could have an IT professional on staff or an ad-hoc cybersecurity auditor to look after their business. But resources and funding don’t always make this possible.
However, if a small business employee has completed this certification, it is not quite the same as being a first aider or firefighter. These roles tend to be more incidental, while cybersecurity is much more labor intensive, ongoing, and involves putting processes and policies in place. It’s a lot of extra responsibility to fall on the shoulders of one or two people who already have jobs with the company.
Still, if it can be implemented ethically and effectively, it could be a great resource for small businesses to protect them and their customers.
“The Cyber Warden program is not designed to replace advice and assistance from IT experts. It aims to provide small business owners and their employees with the basic training needed to keep their workplaces safe online,” COSBOA said in an email to SmartCompany.
He also said that part of the basic training would include:
Know the cyber risks and unique risks of your business
Contribute to password security and data protection
Be a point of contact for employees with cybersecurity concerns and know how to quickly access expert help
Promote the process of reporting cyber threats, suspicious messages and dangers
The Cyber Warning pilot program will be rolled out over the next few months.