Australia number one for cyber-security breaches: PwC

Incidences of cyber-security breaches within Australia were the highest worldwide over the past 12 months, representing an increase of 109 per cent.

According to local data from PwC’s The Global State of Information Security Survey 2016, the dramatic increase dwarfed a comparative 38.5 per cent increase in cyber-security threats globally.

“The frequency of cyber-security incidents in Australia almost tripled that of the rest of the world from 2014 to 2015,” said Steve Ingram, PwC Australia and Asia-Pacific cyber leader, commenting on the figures which revealed Australia incurred 9,434 separate incidents involving cyber security.

“The average loss experienced by Australian businesses now comes close to equalling the average amount of budget allocated to security,” he added.

While there has been a sharp increase in incidents, Mr Ingram noted that cyber security is now, encouragingly, on the radar of many Australian businesses.

“Encouragingly, investment in managing cyber threats has also increased, reversing last year’s slight drop in security spending,” he noted.

The survey also indicated a strong focus on 'cyber-security leadership’, with 23 per cent of Australian businesses implementing a Chief Security Officer (CSO) role within the next 12 months.

With many businesses beginning to grasp the implications of a breach in cyber security, Mr Ingram added that many businesses are unaware that a cyber issue remains a people issue, and not one solely based around the presence of technology.

“They still face significant issues around response protocols and disaster preparedness, third-party suppliers, governance and employee engagement and the speed of innovation,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter how much you spend on technology if your people don’t understand their role in cyber [issues]."

Highlighting the increase in cloud-computing adoption, 69 per cent of the 10,040 survey respondents noted their use of cloud-based security services to help protect sensitive data and ensure privacy and the protection of consumer information.

“Australian businesses are starting to take an enterprise-wide, business-orientated view of this important risk area, but the challenge they face is in keeping up with the rate of adoption of new technology,” said Mr Ingram.

“Businesses need to embrace new technology to remain competitive. Speed of innovation is the name of the game – the challenge is improving security with the same level of speed and agility,” he concluded.

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