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'It's time for SMEs to take cyber security seriously'

At the recent Tech Leaders conference in Sydney, many issues were raised, with one of the most prominent being cyber security.

The simple fact is, cyber attacks are increasing both in frequency and severity, which means companies need to address the issue if they want to remain secure.

It's an issue that WatchGuard ANZ regional director, David Higgins says is affecting SMEs the most.

“In regards to security, everyone seems to be looking for the next big thing, the magic silver bullet that's going to cure all our ills about connecting online and doing business,” Higgins says. “I don't believe it exists - it's really about investing in an extra layer of security.

Higgins believes that in terms of cyber security, the larger enterprises in ANZ are well-equipped, but it's the SMEs (between 5 and 500) that are applying less focus.

“The SME market is underserved - they need enterprise-level security but delivered in a way that enables them to get the same benefits as enterprises do,” Higgins says.

Higgins affirms that for many SMEs, security just isn't top of mind.

“Security is not top of mind a lot of SMEs in ANZ - It tends to be down at a C level,” Higgins says. “Enterprises realise that they need to have the best security, and it needs to be at an absolute core of their business. They also have the budget and resources that SMEs generally don't.

Higgins notes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that the large majority (around 95%) of businesses in Australia are made up of between two and 200 employees. This isn't to mention the Trend Micro 2015 Q3 report, which found that of all the clicks on the Cryptolocker ransomware, more than 65% were in fact SMEs.

“Our message to SMEs out there is they really need to have an IT security policy in place,” Higgins says. “It should be just as important to them as their sales and marketing policy - in fact maybe even more important. Without their online business or their online systems they may not be in business.

Higgins asserts that there are solutions in place, and at the end of the day, it is all about making yourself a harder target and thus forcing cyber criminals to go elsewhere.

“There is no silver bullet,” Higgins says. “It is all about layered security, which we can offer to SMEs in a package that will deliver.

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