24% of NZ SMEs experienced cyber threats in 2017

New data from Norton shows cyber security threats for New Zealand businesses are increasing

24% of NZ SMEs experienced cyber threats in 2017

Almost a quarter of New Zealand SMEs experienced a cyber-attack or hacking attempt in 2017 compared to 18% in 2016, according to the Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey released today.

In a national survey of over 500 SMEs across New Zealand, Norton found cyber-attacks weren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

The survey showed that cybercrime cost New Zealand businesses an average of $15,592 in the last 12 months, a similar amount to the previous year.

The perceived threat of cybercrime has significantly increased, with 29% of survey respondents noting an increase in cyber security threats to their business in the last 12 months compared to 16% in 2016. This equates to over 41,000 New Zealand businesses with 1 – 19. In contrast, only 7% of respondents reported a decline in the threat of cybercrime.

“For many New Zealand SMEs, resilience is critical. Cyber-attacks have the potential to significantly affect how a business operates and how it’s perceived by customers, particularly in the event of lengthy downtime.

‘If a business can’t recover quickly from the operational and financial damages an attack can cause, cyber-attacks have the power to cripple SMEs, regardless of industry,” Norton’s Pacific spokesperson Mark Gorrie said.

In the last 12 months, New Zealand SMEs reported backing up their data more frequently, with 36% now doing so continuously – a slight increase from 31% the previous year.

A greater proportion back-up to the cloud, up from 31% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. More company devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones, were password protected in 2017 78 – 87% compared to just 72 – 84% of password protected devices in 2016.

SMEs signing up for internet security solutions also jumped to 89% from 70% in 2016, and 54% of businesses did so as a precaution to protect against potential threats.

On average, just under one third, 30% of employees working for micro and small New Zealand business operators have access to financial data via a mobile device, while 37% have accesses via a personal device. Norton stated these were similar to the previous survey.

“The operational and financial impacts of cyber-attacks are becoming harder for SMEs to ignore. Yet, while business owners and operators are beginning to knuckle down and get the basics right – from using passwords and continuous back up – some are still taking risks with important company data.

“With the introduction of New Zealand’s Privacy Bill, we expect more New Zealand SMEs will go from seeing cyber security as ‘nice to have’ to a critical piece in securing the future success of their business,” Gorrie added.

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