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Cyber-attacks: it’s not all doom and gloom for businesses

Business and Enterprise

Posted on April 3, 2017

4 min read

There’s no doubt that cyber security attacks are on the rise here in Australia. According to our latest Telstra Cyber Security Report, attacks have almost doubled in the last year, with almost 60 per cent of organisations experiencing a business impacting security incident at least once a month.

The picture in Asia is not vastly different. Like Australia, more than half of businesses in the region detected a business impacting security breach on a monthly basis. Of these, phishing email attacks were the most common, with over 30 per cent of organisations experiencing these attacks at least monthly.

As sobering as this sounds, the reality is that this is the new normal for organisations navigating their way through today’s evolving digital environment. The rapid growth in the number and variety of connected devices and applications, like the Internet of Things and virtual cloud environments, has led to an increase of unprecedented security challenges for businesses.

But the truth is, cyber security is just like any other business risk and can be managed. When it comes to preventing, and mitigating these risks, it’s critical that this is done by the same group of people who would make decisions about any other major threat to the business – the C-suite.

The good news is that the growth in cyber-attacks and incidents across the world in the last few years has resulted in heightened awareness of the business impacts such risks can have. In turn, we’ve seen C-level executives take a more active role in cyber security through increasing their involvement in security initiatives and taking more responsibility when incidents do occur.

Our study shows that’s two out of three C-level executives in Australia and Asia have high or very high involvement in their cyber security initiatives. For us, this is a great indicator that cyber security is now recognised as an all-of-business issue, not just an IT issue.

One of the most effective initiatives for overcoming cyber security threats is collaboration. Typically, organisations have worked in isolation to tackle cyber security threats however we’re now seeing businesses work with each other, as well as the government and communities, to share threat information and tips on how to manage incidents.

Another welcome finding of our study is that organisations within Australia and Asia are increasing investment in IT security spending to combat cybercrime. Almost half of Australian organisations indicated that they will increase this spending by over 10 per cent within the next year.

We’re particularly pleased to see this because taking advantage of new technologies requires a willingness to invest in people, process and technology appropriate for today’s security environment. Organisations must continue to invest appropriate security solutions and initiatives in order to reap the benefits of innovative technologies as they emerge.

Being in the know

Managing and understanding cyber security risks can be complex. We’ve developed and used ourselves Telstra’s Five Knows of Cyber Security to help leaders understand the risks and what they mean for both the business and customer. Once you’ve considered these questions you will be in a much better position to effectively assess and manage the risk.

1. Know the value of your data
2. Know who has access to your data
3. Know where your data is
4. Know who is protecting your data
5. Know how well your data is protected

Telstra Cyber Security Report 2017

Telstra commissioned Frost and Sullivan to survey 360 senior IT leaders and C-suite executives across Australia and Asia to explore the current cyber security landscape and inform businesses how to best manage and mitigate their cyber risks. To download a full copy of the 2017 Cyber Security Report, click here.