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HP: Fewer than half of Australian SMBs prepared for mandatory data breach laws

08 Feb 2018

SMBs across the country may be unsure about the mandatory data breach disclosure laws that are just around the corner, if research from HP is anything to go by.

A study of 528 SMBs with an annual turnover of more than $3 million found that 51% of all respondents had developed (18%) or were developing (33%) an IT security policy that would ensure their compliance to the new legislation, meaning 49% of respondents have policy at all.

The Notifiable Data Breaches scheme comes into effect on February 22 and requires organisations covered by the Australian Privacy Act 1988 to inform the Australian Information Commissioner and members of the public if it believes or is aware that its data has been compromised.

“The consequences of a data breach can be severe; from financial to brand and reputation damage,” comments HP South Pacific’s director of printing systems Paul Gracey.

“Organisations should implement a process to monitor, detect and report data breaches, but prevention – and reducing the frequency and severity of breaches – is equally important,” Gracey says.

The study found that 57% of SMBs have not conducted any IT security risk assessment in the last 12 months – a tactic that HP says puts devices, data and documents at risk.

43% of respondents have undertaken a risk analysis that included servers and PCs, but many SMBs missed out printer security. HP says printers can be an entry point for data breaches.

“Security threats are evolving every day. Due to reduced effectiveness of firewall protection, every device on an organisation’s network is at risk, and unfortunately printing and imaging devices are often overlooked and left exposed,” Gracey says.

63% of respondents allow employees to work remotely on a regular basis, however they are concerned about associated security risks.

63% also allow employees to access company data from personal devices, however 44% have a security policy for BYOD and only 37% restrict the data that can be accessed from BYOD devices.

“Security threats are evolving every day. Due to reduced effectiveness of firewall protection, every device on an organisation’s network is at risk, and unfortunately printing and imaging devices are often overlooked and left exposed,” Gracey comments.

 “Protecting against security breaches is one of the biggest challenges organisations face. HP is determined to push the industry forward – building security solutions at the device level to help fend off data breaches,” Gracey concludes.

 The HP Australia IT Security Study was conducted by ACA Research in November 2017. It surveyed 528 Australian SMBs with between 10 and 99 employees across the services, production, retail and hospitality, health and education, and distribution industries. 

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