In a world of all things digital, it pays to keep your online information and activity safe. This is where cyber security comes in: the critical practice of protecting one’s network systems, data storage, servers, and devices from malicious digital attacks.
With growing rates of cyber crime each year (and Australia’s widening security skills gap to boot), the field of cyber security has never been in greater demand. These defensive methods are especially critical among SMEs (small-to-medium businesses), organisations considered to be among the most vulnerable targets.
Below, we explore the ways cyber security experts can help support small businesses; the importance of cyber security in a digitally-connected world; and how you can get your start in this growing field today.
How cyber security professionals can support small businesses
They keep critical business and customer data safe
Small business owners will likely assume that their companies are too “insignificant” to be a target of cyber attacks, but due to their often inadequate protective measures, cyber criminals are prone to seeing them as “easy” victims. They may also use these organisations as a way to attack larger businesses they may be affiliated with.
In fact, based on findings by the Melbourne-based security firm Kaine Mathrick Tech, nearly half of Australian cyber crimes (43%) target SMEs.
By setting aside the budget to hire reliable cyber security professionals, business owners can rest assured that their company information (and that of their clients, customers, or users) are protected through stringent security means. This not only includes having effective, up-to-date tools and applications in place (firewalls, VPNs, anti-virus software, etc.), but also the right maintenance procedures – such as regular backups, software updates, and daily network monitoring.
Additionally, cyber security experts help protect your business from internal threats. Verizon data reports that 30% of data breaches typically come from one’s own employees, intentional or otherwise.
They help keep maintain your company reputation
As businesses of all sizes know: brand image is everything. This is especially crucial in the early stages of one’s company; getting your name out there can be hard enough – but add to that the pressure of maintaining a positive, reliable, and trustworthy reputation.
Such public traits can fly out the window in the face of cyber crime. Customers or clients will likely lose faith in your ability to protect their information, and as a result, may jump ship to a more dependable organisation. According to IBM ’s “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022”, lost global business costs reached an average of $1.42 million USD in 2022 – which includes the loss in finances from customer turnover.
Not only can cyber security experts save your small business from potential network and reputational damage, they can also help ensure your organisation’s compliance with regulations set by the government, industries, and certification bodies. Popular standards include the Information Security Manual and Essential Eight from The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Australian Energy Sector Cyber Security Framework (AESCSF), and the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) for cloud computing environments.
They help ensure safe remote work
As working-from-home becomes ever more commonplace, small businesses must take further steps to ensure that their data is protected, wherever it may be accessed.
Remote workers can be especially at risk of cyber crime, with most personal work setups not having the proper tools or systems in place for adequate cyber security. Having reliable cyber security professionals under your belt, however, can help you develop proper cyber security prevention policies to alleviate this. This could include having proper access controls, implementing a zero-trust framework, deploying user behaviour analytics (UBA), and ensuring proper applications are set in place – such as anti-virus software and firewalls.
With remote work often relying on the cloud, cyber security professionals can also help your business safely migrate its data if needed. According to the 2020 IBM Cost of Data Breach Report, cloud misconfigurations were the prime cause of 19% of the data breaches they reported on – a common error that may be avoided with proper specialists at the helm.
They take the weight off your current workers or IT team
Finally, hiring cyber security professionals can strengthen your small business’ focus on day-to-day operations and “big-picture” development plans.
IT security can easily be overlooked when managing a startup, as business owners are typically wrapped up in getting new ideas to market, establishing an effective brand image, and setting up the necessary company processes. Critical as it is, investing in a proper cyber security plan can get lost in the shuffle – or dismissed completely.
As a result, the existing workers of a small business (or its IT department) often carry the extra challenge of navigating data security on their own. Not only does this take away from the more critical tasks they could be focusing on – but it also leaves plenty of room for error, especially among those with little to no experience in cyber security.
By having cyber security professionals on your team, you can delegate these crucial tasks to those with the reliable expertise to manage them, saving your small business plenty of downtime.
What is the current job growth for cyber security professionals?
As cyber crimes continue to rise, so does demand for cyber security professionals. According to the ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report (2020-2021), the last year has seen a total of 67,500 cyber crime reports – an increase of nearly 13% from the year before.
This, paired with a growing skills gap that demands nearly 17,000 more cyber security workers by 2026, leaves the industry wide open for job-seekers, graduates, and IT workers looking to specialise.
With a wide variety of roles to choose from – including specialisations in penetration testing, security engineering, and network security – aspiring professionals are bound to find opportunities best suited to their interests. Cyber security skills also earn a generous average base salary of $96K AUD per year, with the potential to earn even more (over $100K AUD) as experience grows.
Looking to build your cyber security skills?
Those seeking to enter cyber security will find no better time than now to pursue a career.
Lumify Learn currently offers courses in cyber security training, helping equip you with the fundamentals to set foot in the industry. From a bootcamp in CompTIA frameworks to nationally-recognised training in comprehensive security skills – you’ll find all you need to get started.
Launch your cyber security career today, and enquire with us on a course.