Top Ways Cyber Security Professionals Can Support Small Businesses

By Lumify Learn Team  |  May 13, 2024

It's essential to keep your business's online information and activity safe. This is where cyber security can help you.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security, also known as information technology security, electronic information security, or computer security, refers to the critical practice of protecting one’s network systems, data storage, servers, and devices from malicious digital attacks.

Think of it as building a strong castle around your digital kingdom, with well-trained guards and secure passageways to control who and what enters. This ensures that outsiders can't breach the walls, but also those within can't misuse their access.

As cyber crime worsens 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 small businesses, organisations considered to be among the most vulnerable targets.

In this blog, we will 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 start a fulfilling career in this growing field today.

How Can Cyber Security Professionals Support Small Businesses?

1. 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. However, 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, according to a study commissioned in 2023 by Mastercard, 309,000 small business leaders have admitted experiencing cyber security issues. Of those affected, 33% said that they incurred financial losses after.

In a separate study, the average cost of a cybercrime for Australian businesses has jumped by 14%, with small businesses losing as much as $46,000.

By setting aside an ample budget to hire reliable cyber security professionals, business owners can rest assured that their company data (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, antivirus 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. A study by security firm Tessian and Stanford University Jeff Hancock found that a whopping 88% of data breach incidents are typically caused by employee mistakes. On top of this, businesses also face a significant threat from malicious insiders, who may be driven by revenge, financial gain, or espionage.

2. Cyber Security Professionals Help 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 traits can fly out the window in the face of cyber crime. If you fail to protect any sensitive data, customers or clients will likely jump ship to a more dependable organisation as a result. In fact, 60% of small businesses close within six months of a cyber attack, underscoring the need for robust cyber security measures to safeguard your company's future.

Aside from this, cyber security professionals 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.

3. They Help Ensure Safe Remote Work

Man working remotely as AIICT Cyber Security Student has setup a secure network for him

As the work-from-home setup becomes 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. By having reliable cyber security professionals under your belt, however, you can 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 antivirus 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 2022 Thales Cloud Security Report, 45% of businesses have experienced a cloud-based data breach or failed audit in the past year. This is a significant increase that underscores the common errors that may be avoided with cyber security professionals at the helm.

4. They Take the Weight Off Your Current Workers or IT Team

Hiring cyber security professionals can strengthen your small business’ focus on day-to-day operations and “big-picture” development plans.

Cyber security can easily be overlooked when managing a startup, as business owners are typically busy getting new ideas to market, establishing an effective brand image, and setting up 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 load of navigating data security on their own. Not only does this take time away from tasks they should 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 become more frequent, so does demand for cyber security professionals. 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 base salary of $105,000 per year, with the potential to earn as much as $120,000 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 the following courses to equip you with the fundamentals to set foot in the industry:

All of these courses are delivered 100% online by our expert trainers and mentors, so you can balance your studies with your personal and professional commitments. And once you complete your chosen course, you can join our Lumify Edge program. This prepares you for a career in the IT industry by helping you develop your professional brand and giving you access to a portal where you can find jobs and internships.

Launch your cyber security career today, and enquire with us on a course.

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