SecurityBrief Australia - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
Story image
Aussie businesses aware of email threats, but are they prepared?
Thu, 18th Feb 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

On the whole, Australian businesses have high email threat awareness, high levels of C-Suite engagement and higher levels of confidence in security solutions when compared to their global counterparts, according to new global research from Mimecast, the email security firm.

However, Australian respondents indicate they have experienced the highest levels of attacks/breaches compared to other markets, and with a large percentage of Aussie companies either using or planning to use Office 365, these businesses need to take action to implement necessary security measures to protect them from the breach (and also from outages), Mimecast says.

Key findings from Mimecast's research are as follows:

Email is the highest threat

Overall, 15% of Australian respondents consider email to be the number one entry point of attack, more than all other countries included in the survey (US 13%, UK 10% and South Africa 4%). Furthermore, 17% of Australians surveyed regard email as an ‘extremely high threat' (compared to US 17%, UK 10% and South Africa 10%).

Ransomware a high concern

Amongst Australians, Ransomware is a high concern at 34%, compared to the US (21%), UK (25%) and South Africa (18%). Malicious insider attacks (40%) and mobile device compromise (39%) are the top two email security threats Australian respondents felt ill-prepared to cope with.

On top of this, 55% of Australian respondents admit that they have experienced an email hack or breach, either in their time as a security decision maker, or prior to that (compared to US 24%, UK 26% and South Africa 30%).

The research also found Australians are alongside South Africans (53%) when it comes to the belief that reputational damage is the biggest impact of an email hack or breach, as opposed to other markets who cite data loss as the biggest impact (US 48% and the UK 34%)

Multi-layer security protection on the rise

According to Mimecast, 28% of Australian businesses always use a multi-layer protection solution, ahead of the other countries who participated in the survey.

On top of this, 90% of Australian respondents feel somewhat or extremely secure with their current level of security (in line with the US 90%, South Africa 86% and UK 84%).

Australia is slightly ahead of the average percentage of annual IT budget spent on email security (10.44%) compared to 9.97%.

Educating employees held in high regard

Australia is in line with other countries in providing a broad overview of security and safety training for employees (61%) and security induction training (67%). However, Aussie businesses are behind the US and South Africa in simulating security incidents (Australia 39%, US 52% and South Africa 45%, UK 26%).

C-Suite engagement increasing

Australia has the highest levels of C-Suite engagement with email security and risk management practices at 95% (with the US following closely behind at 94%, South Africa 89%, UK 74%).

This is the only market to feel that none (0%) of their C-suite executives are ‘not at all engaged' with email security and risk management ( US 1%, South Africa 3% and UK 6%).

Email and platform security key consideration

An average of 30% of respondents currently use Office 365 and 36% of Australians currently use Office 365 as their main email platform.

Of the respondents not currently using Office 365, 42% of Australian respondents are planning to move to Office 365 in the next 12-24 months, compared to 35% in the US, 33% in South Africa and 29% in the UK

Furthermore, 42% of Australian respondents usually or always use third-party email security software on top of their Microsoft infrastructure (which is in line with the US at 41% and the UK at 36% compared to 0% in South Africa).

Mimecast worked with Vanson Bourne to facilitate the study during late 2015, surveying 600 IT security decision makers from the US (200), the UK (200), South Africa (100) and Australia (100).