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Largest survey to improve cyber security for Australia’s small businesses

It takes a team effort to make Australia the safest place to connect online, and this is one of the reasons why the ACSC is undertaking its largest-ever survey of small to medium-sized businesses in Australia.

This week, more than 2.3 million Australians working in businesses across Australia, from medical and dental practices, to accounting, real estate, retail, trade and hospitality businesses, have received the ACSC Small Business Survey via the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) Small Business Newsroom.

Head of the ACSC, Rachel Noble says, ‘The ACSC has partnered with the ATO to ask Australia’s diverse small to medium-sized business sector a range of questions to understand what “cyber security” means to them.’

Australian small businesses are taking more steps to improve their cyber security [1], and almost 90 per cent are seeking more resources to understand and tackle cyber threats [2]. Other research shows the level of knowledge about good cyber security practices remains fairly low with the majority of businesses believing they are safe from cybercrime because they use anti-virus software [3]. It is a disturbing trend when 94 per cent of small businesses have internet access [4], making them increasingly vulnerable to the rising scourge of cybercrime.

‘Small businesses use technology to interact with millions of Australians every day, using point of sale systems, online banking and software solutions to manage customer, client and supplier data and other information,’ Ms Noble said.

‘By taking part in the survey, small to medium-sized businesses can play an active role in tackling cybercrime that could devastate their business and have serious impacts on their suppliers and customers.’

‘We’re keen to understand the type of information and advice Australia’s small businesses want and need to help them best protect themselves, their customers and suppliers from criminal activity,’ Ms Noble said.

The ACSC will use the survey data to enhance the free, independent advice we produce for small and medium enterprises in our role helping to make Australia the safest place to connect online.

Hundreds of businesses have taken part in the survey since it was released through peak and other business bodies across Australia earlier this year.

The ACSC Small Business Cyber Security Survey is open to anyone operating a small to medium-sized business in Australia.

More information about the survey, including our privacy and data collection principles, is available here.

[1] Symantec 2017, Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey: Australia 2017, p.6,

[2] NSW Small Business Commissioner, 2017, Cyber Aware: Report into the Perceptions of, attitudes to and preparedness for Cybercrime amongst Australia’s small and medium-sized enterprises, p14.

[3] MYOB 2017, Cloud security the silver lining for SMEs,

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Business Use of Information Technology and Innovation in Australian Business