Cybersecurity: Only as safe as our weakest link

Robyn Hendry 24 August 2018

The importance of cybersecurity is understated.

Around the globe, countries and corporations are focused on cybersecurity. Canberra is home to some of the most innovative, advanced and successful cybersecurity firms in the world.

Yet the issue with cybersecurity is that any organisation, no matter how much they have invested in protection, is only as safe as its weakest link.

While the privacy debate raged on electronic healthcare records over the past few months, a number of commentators pointed out that breaches of patient information are most likely to happen at an individual level – such as the hack or robbery of a general practice’s files.

Indeed, most recent highly publicised examples of data loss were caused by hackers gaining access to sensitive information through electronic connections between small companies supplying goods and services to those that held the data repositories.

Collaboration and cooperation have been a cornerstone of doing business in Australia forever, and it needs to continue safely. When it comes to business it is a universal truth that ‘no man is an island’. At the very least, businesses will have customers with whom they communicate and connect.

Enhancing the “cyber-hygiene” of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – that ability to safely connect with customers and suppliers – is the current focus of the Canberra Business Chamber’s Innovation Taskforce. Chaired by Dr Lyndal Thorburn, the Taskforce is reviewing public checklists suitable for use by Canberra’s SMEs to check how they perform against accepted standards.

“The Taskforce is reviewing existing materials and assessing its applicability to use by our local businesses,” Dr Thorburn explained. “The aim is to develop a page on the Chamber’s website where companies can go to locate these resources, and also to identify local trusted providers of cyber goods and services. We would welcome approaches by local companies interested in being listed.”

One such provider is Canberra-based Cogito Group. Cogito Group is a world-leader when it comes to cybersecurity and when launching a new product earlier this year, Managing Director Richard Brown highlighted the need to look beyond the potential big targets of cybercriminals.

“Our goal is to create products that are affordable and effective for businesses of all sizes and types. We have designed Jellyfish to bring together disparate security capability in the enterprise, but to also allow such capability to finally be realised in much smaller organisations that until now, could not afford them.

“If we are going to keep information safe, particularly sensitive data that can impact on national security or the financial wellbeing of an organisation, then every player in the supply chain – from the cleaning company, to the small contractor, to the organisation itself – has a role to play.”

A key recommendation of Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report is for companies to review third-party efficacy testing of security technologies to help reduce the risk of supply chain attacks.

With cost perhaps one of the greatest barriers to small businesses fortifying their cyber defences, in its ACT Budget Submission this year, Canberra Business Chamber called on the Government to incentivise investment in cybersecurity.

With so much valuable and personal information now stored and shared electronically, just one gap in security can have disastrous consequences. Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem and it requires everyone to treat it seriously.

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