The Ai Group Cyber Security Survey 2023 shows that Australian businesses are well informed of the risks of cyber attacks, and have decisively moved from awareness to action.

We find that Australian businesses are conscious, concerned, but moderately confident about cyber security. Cyber has become a top investment priority for business leaders, and the majority of Australian businesses deploy a diverse range of cyber defences sourced from both external vendors and in-house IT teams.

But there is room for an increase in cyber protections across all businesses in the Australian economy. We are only as strong as the weakest link in the national cyber ecosystem.

Cyber attacks on large businesses have been a focus of public, policy and commercial attention – and rightly so, given their data-rich operations and complex supply chain linkages. However, our research shows they also have resources and capabilities to invest in cyber security practices.

Medium businesses appear to be the ‘missing middle’ when it comes to the national cyber ecosystem. Our research shows they have a similar cyber risk profile to large businesses, but fewer resources to invest in leading-edge security practices.

This is borne out by data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre, which found that medium businesses carried the highest average cost per cybercrime, losing over $88,000 compared to over $39,000 for small businesses, and over $62,000 for large businesses.

Our research also finds that people are as important as technology when it comes to cyber security. Technology solutions are only as good as the people using them, but the digital capability of some segments of the workforce is concerningly low. With only one-in-three small businesses investing in staff cyber skills, there is need to make workforce investments a greater part of oru cyber defence.

The Ai Group Cyber Security Survey 2023 shows that we have a unique opportunity for Australia to lift the cyber security capability of all businesses, with a focus on our medium-sized enterprises and the digital skills of our workforce.

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