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Tag: small-business

Cyber security series: ransomware – not so random

Cyber Security

Posted on April 11, 2018

3 min read

It has been a notable year for security across the globe. With events such as the WannaCry ransomware, NotPetya malware, the Equifax breach, and the leaking of hacking tools by a group called the Shadow Brokers, the past year has seen large-scale cyber security events dominate the headlines.

This month, we released the Telstra Security Report 2018, which is more comprehensive than ever before. We interviewed over 1250 professionals for matters of security from 13 countries including Australia, Asia, Europe and the UK.

Some of the findings are encouraging. Others, surprising. The insights about ransomware, however, are ringing alarm bells. Ransomware is on the rise and is becoming increasingly targeted. Our respondents reported more ransomware attacks in this year’s survey than any previous year.

Cyber security is ever more important in an interconnected world

Attacks are inevitable

31 percent of Australian respondents whose business had been interrupted due to a security breach in the past year are experiencing ransomware attacks on a weekly or monthly basis, the highest among all countries surveyed.

  • In the APAC and European region, this figure was only 22 percent.
  • The UK figure is 25 percent, second to Belgium at 29 percent for the European markets.

Over the course of 2017, Australia had the highest rate of ransomware attacks at 76 percent, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific, both at 74 percent. Respondents reported more ransomware attacks in this years’ survey than previous years.

Around half of the business victims paid the ransom

47 percent of Australian businesses who found themselves victims of ransomware paid the ransom, which was consistent across APAC.

  • Some 60 percent of ransomware victims in New Zealand, and
  • 55 percent in Indonesia paid the ransom, making it the highest for Asia.
  • In Europe, 41 percent of respondent ransomware victims paid up.

Most are able to retrieve data after payment

86 percent of Australian businesses who paid a ransom were able to retrieve their data after the payment. In Asia, this figure was slightly higher at 87 percent and slightly lower for Europe at 82 percent.

Our research suggests that ransomware that specifically targets businesses tends to be more sophisticated, with attackers having the ability to release files, typically through central command and control systems, once the amount has been paid.

Many would pay again

In Australia, 83 percent of respondents would pay the ransom again if there were no backup files available. Across Asia, 76 percent would also consider paying again as would 80 percent of European businesses.

It should be noted that an increased number of ransomware variants will attempt to attack some files, such as backup systems, as a first priority. This is often in an effort to increase the price of the ransom.

Cyber Security - Ransomware Recommendations 2018

In the next blog post of this cyber security series, we’ll take a deeper look at how often breaches occur, and how we compare to the rest of the world in detecting these attacks.

Read the full report.

Emerging small businesses encouraged to share their success

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on March 13, 2018

4 min read

Having refreshed the Telstra Business Awards categories this year, we caught up with our 2017 New Business Award alumni to find out what it took for them to win, and their advice for emerging businesses considering entering.

In the 26th year of the Telstra Business Awards, we’ve made some changes to the program to provide even more value to the business community. As well as a streamlined entry form, new Business Benchmark Reports for each entrant and updated judging criteria, we have refreshed the Awards categories to better recognise Australia’s most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses.

Once again, we’re encouraging small and medium businesses to enter the Telstra Business Awards in 2018 to receive the recognition they deserve – and make this year the year that their businesses strive further towards success.

One of the refreshed categories in this year’s Awards is ‘Emerging and Energised’. This category is for the newcomers (less than three years in operation) that are just starting out but are already making a huge impact.

Emerging and Energised is the evolution of our previous New Business Award. With this in mind, we sat down with our New Business Award alumni for their views on what it takes to win.

Small business, big impact

Over The Moo - Telstra Business Awards

A common trait among our New Business Award alumni was that they were all relatively small businesses that were already making a big impact.

Alexander Houseman, co-founder of 2017 Australian New Business of the Year, said although Over The Moo had been in business just two and a half years with only three staff members, its dairy-free desserts were already stocked in more than 500 Woolworths stores. Alex believes the company’s Awards success can be attributed to a strong emphasis on company values and team culture, which lifted the team’s commitment, performance and dedication.

Nick Ellsmore, of 2017 Telstra Victorian Business of the Year Hivint, said “what set us apart was that we saw opportunities to collaborate where others saw opportunities to compete.

“Having delivered thousands of projects for everyone from the United Nations through to some of the world’s largest companies, we saw businesses wasting massive amounts of money on consultants, solving cyber security problems that had already been solved somewhere else.

“We decided to enter because our business had gone from a start-up, to having around 30 staff in just a couple of years. We felt we had a good story to tell and, if successful, it would be the incredible external validation of everything we were trying to achieve.”

Paths to success

So, how did winning a Telstra Business Award energise the businesses of our alumni? Over The Moo’s Alex said that the Awards were important for public perception. “Winning helped build relationships with our customers and led to some really positive media coverage, indirectly contributing to strong sales. Internally, it gave our team a stronger sense of confidence, validation of all their hard work, and momentum for the future.”

Over The Moo - Telstra Business Awards

For Hivint, the visibility of the Awards and Telstra’s own sizeable scale was an advantage. “While external feedback was one positive, the amount of visibility winning businesses gained through the Awards was something we wanted even more.”

Similarly, Tom Rayner of 2017 Telstra South Australian New Business Award winner Myriota said the validation his company received was incredibly important as it encouraged further success. “Winning let us know we were on the right track and was also one catalyst that led us to launch into the US market.”

Tips for success

We asked Tom for his advice to businesses who are considering entering. He said the Awards process itself was an important benchmark for his business as a whole. “Take the nomination process as an opportunity to assess where you are heading and look for areas that might need attention. I also recommend engaging your whole team in the nomination process. We found it a great way to stimulate discussion about the direction the business was heading in.”

As for what Hivint learnt from the judges and the Awards process, Nick said it allowed for a wider perspective on his tech-heavy business. “Working in cybersecurity, it’s easy to forget that you’re often speaking with people who already get it. Through the Awards process, and from the judges’ feedback, we learned our message was resonating beyond the ‘cyber-bubble’ and hitting a mark with the business world more broadly.”

As our alumni have outlined, you don’t need to be big to have an impact – or to win a Telstra Business Award. To make this year ‘that’ year for your business, nominate before the 28th of March.

Anyone can nominate, so if you know an emerging business that is energising its industry, nominate them for a Telstra Business Award today.

Download the latest consumer and SMB insights at Smarter Business.

Small business tips: get online and use technology

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on February 13, 2018

3 min read

Last week at the launch of the 2018 Telstra Business Awards, past winners shared their stories about the positive impact the recognition had for their businesses – and innovative use of technology was a recurring theme.

In the 26-year history of the Telstra Business Awards, we have uncovered some incredible success stories. We’ve recognised hundreds of businesses across diverse categories for their courage, grit and determination, and given them a platform to propel themselves to even greater heights.

Once again, we’re encouraging small and medium businesses to enter the Telstra Business Awards in 2018 to receive the recognition they deserve – and to make this year ‘that’ year they hit it big.

“A big tick of approval”

A recurring theme from the panellists was the credibility the Awards have brought to their businesses. Co-founder of 2017 Australian Business of the Year GenWise Health, Dr Sebastian Rees, said the program provided an opportunity to share the GenWise mission with many more people, gaining invaluable exposure within the healthcare industry, and allowing them to grow as a business.

Alecia Hancock, of Hancock Creative, said the Awards were a big tick of approval that has opened doors.

Similarly, Jen Geale of Mountain Bikes Direct said “this has had a huge impact for us in terms of trust and credibility for new customers.”

Critical factors of business success

To coincide with the launch, we also released the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report. The report examines the discrepancies between small businesses and consumer expectations.

The report revealed that businesses underestimate the importance of being online and struggle to provide the e-commerce experience most customers expect. For example, only 50 per cent of small businesses have a website, but 62 per cent of consumers won’t consider a business if they can’t find it online. In addition, only 57 per cent of small business e-commerce websites are mobile-friendly, while 48 per cent of customers shop at least once a week on a mobile device.

Ms Geale offered some helpful advice to businesses who want to meet the technological needs of their customers.

“Don’t feel like you have to do it all but stay open to new opportunities that crop up,” she said.

The message is clear for Australia’s small businesses: to remain relevant, you must ensure your adoption of technology reflects the wants and needs of your customers.

If you feel your business is performing and responding well to customer’s expectations, you should nominate yourself for a Telstra Business Award.

A refreshed program

At the event, we announced some changes to the Awards program, to provide even more value to the business community and ensure the program remains a prestigious sign of business excellence:

  1. Entry form – A streamlined entry form makes the process simpler, with the first phase taking only around 90 minutes to complete.
  2. Business Benchmark Report – Each entrant receives a comprehensive report, including an in-depth review of their business with insights and guidance.
  3. Judging criteria – Our judging criteria has been updated, with innovation and technology remaining a key consideration. The six judging criteria are: strategy and vision, customers and marketing, operations, people and culture, social responsibility and financial acumen.
  4. Award categories – There are six refreshed categories to recognise Australia’s most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses:
    • Emerging and Energised
    • Small and Succeeding
    • Medium and Making Waves
    • Social Change Maker
    • Alumni Achievement
    • People’s Choice Award

Make this year ‘that year’ for your business – nominate before the 28th of March. Anyone can nominate, so if you know a business that deserves recognition, nominate them today.

Download the latest consumer and SMB insights at Smarter Business.

Feed yourself, feed the world: meet the Perth startup on a mission to end world hunger

muru-D

Posted on October 4, 2017

2 min read

I grew up often not knowing where my next meal was coming from. Orphaned at the age of 10, I grew up in foster homes and often had to rely on external support during my childhood.

I spent some time on the streets and relied heavily on charities for food and support. I have always wanted to help people who are in the same hard situation that I faced while growing up.

I am now focused on paying it forward through technology. In February 2016, I founded Feedmee — a social enterprise for food discovery that lets people donate to food charities.

The Feedmee App works like Tinder for food, where users can choose from restaurant and recipe options. Each time someone buys a meal through the app, Feedmee donates money to food rescue charities such as OzHarvest and SecondBite to help them distribute food to people in need.

We have integration arrangements with UberEATS and Deliveroo, and a partnership with Quandoo. They pay us a referral fee that goes directly to OzHarvest, who collect food waste from commercial food providers and deliver it to people in need.

I chose OzHarvest as our non-profit partner because the money goes directly into feeding the community. We have covered the cost of more than 2,000 meals for people in need since we launched the app around 10 months ago.

I run the company with our chief technical officer Anthony Manning-Franklin and chief operating officer Brenda Lai.

Spacecubed and Telstra’s startup accelerator muru-D run the Plus Eight accelerator program, with support from Seven West Media and Hawaiian. This year the program is supporting six Perth-based startups.

Growth Hacking, Use Your Digital Powers for Good

Tech4Good

Posted on October 3, 2017

4 min read

People talk about automation and jobs changing and, well, for the most part, they are all doom and gloom. I see these changes as a positive. Our script for the future isn’t written. If we put new digital skills in the hands of everyone, that empowers us all to determine and shape our own future.

This is why I am passionate about the Tech4Good work of the Telstra Foundation. It brings together the best of the tech and startup worlds and introduces it to the non-profit sectors. We at Telstra can have that local impact by helping our communities and sharing new skills to tackle society’s problems.

The word ‘hacking’ can have negative connotations. But it simply means to ‘hack through’ a problem. All sorts of people get together, to use their unique skills and knowledge to create innovative, new solutions to everyday challenges. You can make a difference outside of your day-to-day work life.

Telstra Foundation is partnering with Academy Xi for a special hackathon, Growth Hack Idol, to help non-profits tackle growth and outreach goals through digital marketing.

This is a competition in two parts. On October 11th, we will meet our hackers and non-profits, and learn about their purpose and challenges. The audience gets involved by assigning teams with problems to solve over the coming month. These teams will meet with their organisation to establish a strategy to achieve their marketing growth goals.

Next month, the groups will return and see what worked and what didn’t. The organisations will present what they learned and what impact the new ideas had on their growth. The audience will be involved in deciding the winner over a series of categories, including the most creative use of data, the best metric and the audience prize.

And that’s the way using Tech4Good can deliver new outcomes. We can change the way that folks think about solving problems by applying the lean startup approach. Fail, try again, and learn from that failure. It’s about changing the way we tackle problems, the way we get stuff done and the way we do work.

Growth Hack Idol’s purpose is to use technology or people’s skills to move things forward for non-profits. These organisations are doing great work, however sometimes they don’t have the time or the resources to apply new digital skills. If we can contribute to that, that’s a great outcome.

One of the non-profit partners is eOrygen. They are reinventing youth mental health services through science, big data and technology. This is close to my heart because my daughter, a student at Melbourne University, is studying data science.

She told me she wants to use big data for good. She wants to use analytics to help people. And if people like my daughter, Telstra employees or myself get involved we can use our capabilities to drive a good outcome for their future.

Sign-ups are now open for the event here. I encourage you to sign up, bring friends and family to make a difference in the lives of young people.

The non-profit teams are The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, StartOut and eOrygen. Even if you aren’t in the tech scene you can sign up to be in the audience or for the bold; you could learn new ways of thinking. We all have skills that we undervalue. And it is often surprising how easy it is to learn and apply new digital skills.

We have so much knowledge inside of us, all we need is the right opportunity to learn, to exercise that muscle. If you are newbies to the concept of a hackathon, it is about opening your mind to other ways of getting stuff done. It will give you a chance to get outside of your world and deliver services in a way that is going to be impactful.

The time is now to sign up and see how you can use your Tech4Good powers to help create a future you didn’t know was possible!