What is cyber security and what is it important for your business

Cybercrime in Australia is a growing threat and is becoming an attractive way for criminals to steal information, money or disrupt business.

As the internet becomes easier to access, and we share and collect more information and data online, you need to ensure security measures are in place. For many businesses, this includes the data your business creates and stores, plus the information your customers share. Providing a secure setting is critical in building and maintaining confidence and trust in your business.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime, also called computer crime, involves using computers and the internet to break the law. Common kinds of cybercrime include:

  • identity theft and fraud
  • online scams
  • attacks on your computer systems or websites.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security is about protecting your technology and information from accidental or illicit access, corruption, theft or damage. Cyber security is an ongoing journey in your business and needs to be part of your daily business processes.

What is at risk?

Your money, information, technology and reputation could be at risk from a cyber attack. This could include:

  • customer records and personal information
  • financial records
  • business plans
  • new business ideas
  • marketing plans
  • intellectual properties
  • product design
  • patent applications
  • employee records.

Who could be a threat to your business?

Cyber criminals may be an individual or a group of people that cause a malicious cyber attack on your business. Cyber criminals that can threaten your technology or data could include:

  • criminals - out for financial gain or information, to illegally access your hardware and data or disrupt your business
  • clients you do business with – to compromise your information with malicious intent
  • business competitors – looking to gain an advantage over your business
  • current or former employees – who accidentally or intentionally compromise your information or data.

Types of cyber threats to your business

Cyber criminals look for information and data on your business, employees and customers. They develop a number of ways to exploit weaknesses in your business such as:

  • theft or unauthorised access of hardware, computers and mobile devices
  • infect computers with viruses and malware
  • attack your technology or website
  • attack third party systems
  • spam you with emails containing viruses
  • gain access to information through your employees.

For more information on the types of cyber threats that could harm your business, read our page Identify cyber threats to your business.

What effects could a cyber attack have on your business?

  • financial loss – from theft of money, information, disruption to business
  • business loss – damage to reputation, damage to other companies you rely on to do business
  • costs – getting your affected systems up and running
  • investment loss - time notifying the relevant authorities and institutions of the incident.

What can I do about protecting my business from cyber threats?

To protect your business from cybercrime, try these tips:

  • Develop clear policies and procedures for your business and employees. Outline the security measures you have put in place on how to protect your systems and information assets.
  • Produce a cyber security incident response management plan to support your policies and procedures.
  • Train new and existing staff on your cyber security policies and procedures and the steps to take if a cyber threat or cyber incident occurs.
  • Keep your computers, website and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems up-to-date with all software release updates or patches.
  • Ensure you back-up important data and information regularly to lessen the damage in case a breach occurs to your systems.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2016. 

This content was first published on www.business.gov.au



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