Date posted: 14/07/2022

Step up your cyber strategy or risk losing it all

Australian businesses lost $33 billion to cybercrime in the 2020-21 financial year alone, with small and medium sized businesses the big new target for cyber criminals.

That’s why Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has released a new Cyber Security Hub and Playbook for small businesses – to help them prevent, prepare for and recover from cyberattacks.

CA ANZ CEO Ainslie van Onselen said the Hub and Playbook will help members take practical steps to build a cyber security strategy, and also discuss this issue more confidently with their clients. 

“Attempted robbery, blackmail and fraud have always been a big issue for small businesses, but these days criminals are trying to get in via the laptop rather than the back door,” Ms van Onselen said.

“Digital transformation has pushed innovation including in criminal activity. While all types of companies are threatened, SMEs are most at risk because they are typically the least mature in terms of their cyber security risk and resilience. 

“Cybercrime comes in many different forms, from fraud and identify theft, right through to romance scams and malware attacks. When it comes to cybercrime, it’s a matter of when, not if, someone will try something against your business.

“That’s why it’s incredibly important that SMEs take the opportunity to review their cyber plan, put proper processes and procedures in place, and invest in best-practice cyber security.

“Too few organisations plan to prevent cyber incidents, respond and recover from them, and as a result they suffer. The other thing that SMEs don’t do well is communicate that cyber security is a team effort and a team responsibility. 

“All employees and contractors need to take responsibility for the data, software and devices they use at work, because it takes just one person to bring down an entire network through a simple error.” 

The CA ANZ Cyber Security Hub and Playbook contains a suite of useful information, including: 

  • A model to plan your cyber security enhancement by assessing risk and creating a cyber plan. 
  • A self-assessment tool to assess the state of your cybersecurity. 
  • A mitigation strategy developed by the Australian cyber security agency. 
  • A summary blueprint for incident response, and guidance on when and how to report a data breach in Australia and New Zealand. 

Other compelling cyber security statistics:*

  • Globally, more than $40 billion records were exposed by cyber incidents in 2021, up 78 per cent on 2020. 
  • Globally, there were $945 billion in losses to businesses in 2020 from cybercrime. 
  • In Australia, there were 67,500 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous financial year. 
  • In Australia, 22,000 calls were received by the Cyber Security Hotline, an average of 60 per day, and a 310 per cent increase from the previous financial year. 
  • In New Zealand, 28 per cent of cyber incidents were linked to foreign state-sponsored computer network exploitation groups. 
  • In New Zealand, there were 404 cyber incidents in nationally significant organisations in 2020-21 financial year, up 15 per cent from the previous year. 

Visit the CA ANZ Cyber Security Hub and access all the tools and resources including a copy of the Playbook at

*Statistics courtesy of McAfee, Australian Cyber Security Centre and CERT NZ. See Playbook for details.