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Australian Government invests $23.4m in Cyber Wardens program to build SME cyber resilience

Updated: May 16, 2023


Australian small businesses and their employees will take a leading role in the nation’s defence against global cybercrime, with a $23.4 million investment in the national CyberWardens program in this week’s federal budget.

The program will create up to 60,000 Cyber Wardens in small businesses within three years, building small business cyber resilience. Currently cyber threats and scams targeting small businesses cost the Australian economy an estimated $29 billion a year¹.

The Cyber Wardens program is an accessible education tool designed to build a cyber-smart small business workforce. Similar to how workplace safety officers help to keep small businesses safe from physical hazards, Cyber Wardens will use their skills to help small business employees prevent and protect against digital threats. Designed specifically for non-technical small business employees, Cyber Wardens is a free and easy-to-use online program for small business employees to identify and manage their risks against cyber crime.

Cyber Wardens training will make it easier for small businesses to increase their cyber posture to both prevent attacks and become resilient to them. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) estimates 43 per cent of all Australian cyber crime is directed at small businesses. A trained Cyber Warden could save your small business $50,000 by preventing a single business compromised email attack .

Cyber Wardens is an initiative of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, supported by an industry alliance led by Telstra, CommBank and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. For more information on the program see cyberwardens.com.au

Quotes Matthew Addison, Chair, Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia “For small businesses to thrive in an online ecosystem vulnerable to cyber threats, increasing employees’ cyber literacy and motivations to act in a cyber-safe manner is essential. This critical investment from the Albanese government will help give small businesses the skills they need to meet the cyber burden. Anne Da Cunha, Telstra Small and Medium Business Executive “Managing small business risks online shouldn’t be like the dark arts. We believe the solution lies not just in protecting devices and your internet connection, but also in the cyber safety culture you create. “Telstra is a proud foundational partner of this program and welcomes the government’s commitment to supporting small businesses.” Mike Vacy-Lyle, Commbank Group Executive for Business Banking “Developing a cyber-safe mindset and empowering small business teams to identify and manage cyber threats is an essential skill. We’re excited to see the expansion of the Cyber Wardens program with the Government’s support, providing more small businesses with access to this crucial training.”

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