As part of the program, small businesses can have half of the costs of having their cyber security tested by approved service providers paid for by the government.
“The Liberal-National government recognises that confidence in the security of data is vital both to businesses and their customers, and thousands of Australian small businesses stand to benefit from this funding, helping them secure their digital assets,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Australia’s economy and this funding from the Liberal-National government underlines our determination to help provide a healthy digital environment so they can prosper.”
The estimated cost to the Australian economy from cyber crime is about $1 billion annually.
“The Coalition government is committed to keeping Australians safe and our businesses competitive, while protecting our interests online – that’s why we are focused on developing Australia’s cyber security industry and growing jobs within this sector,” Minister Andrews said.
The grants form part of the Cyber Security Small Business Program, with the second component being a $2 million grant to the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers Australia New Zealand (CREST ANZ), to enhance "its capacity to help small businesses with cyber security".
“Support from CREST ANZ will provide pathways for small businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities that connected technologies provide,” Minister Andrews explained.
The launch of the Cyber Security Small Business Program is the final step in delivering the federal government's Australian Cyber Security Strategy announced in 2016.
The "action plan" outlined in the strategy aimed to complete the following goals by 2020:
- Governments, business and the research community together advance Australia’s cyber security through a national cyber partnership;
- Australia’s networks and systems are hard to compromise and resilient to cyber attacks;
- Australia promotes an open, free and secure cyber space by taking global responsibility and exercising international influence;
- Australian businesses grow and prosper through cyber security innovation; and
- Australians have the cyber security skills and knowledge to thrive in the digital age.