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New program to help small businesses improve their cybersecurity

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) has launched a new initiative to help protect small businesses from cyber threats and scams which cost the economy an estimated $29 billion a year.

COSBOA’s Cyber Wardens program will be designed by small business, for small business, through a free and easy-to-use accredited e-learning platform that will upskill the small-business workforce and give owners and employees the tools they need to stay safe online.

The program also aims to become Australia’s first cybersafety workplace certification or microcredential for the small-business sector. Already, it has secured strategic partnerships with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Telstra in the implementation of the program.

COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said that the Cyber Wardens program hopes to empower small-business owners who have felt powerless in the digital safety space, made even harder by limited resources, time and technology expertise.

“We believe that having a Cyber Warden on the team will help give small-business owners the confidence that their business and customers are protected,” Boyd said. “Australia’s innovative small-business owners are used to wearing many hats but we can’t just add another task to the to-do or ‘too hard’ lists. By targeting employees, as well as owners, the Cyber Wardens program will equip Australia’s small-business workforce with the mindset, skillset and toolset to more easily and safely engage with an increasingly digital world.

“With the support of Telstra and CBA, and I hope many more corporate partners, we can provide free, simple and accessible resources to the small business community,” Boyd added. “We want to foster a culture of self-determination and understanding in cyber safety [with] no IT degree, excel expertise and cloud wizardry required.”

Recent data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) revealed that 43 per cent of all Australian cyber crime is directed at small businesses, costing small business owners almost $9000 on average in FY21. CBA’s Group Executive for Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle, says it is crucial the small-business sector is equipped with the skills it needs to stay safe online.

“Understanding a complex topic like cyber safety can be challenging and we are always looking for ways to better support small businesses in this space,” Vacy-Lyle said. “We’re excited to launch the Cyber Wardens pilot program to help demystify cyber safety, instil a cyber mindset and empower small businesses to identify and manage cyber threats.”

The Cyber Wardens pilot program will be rolled out in the coming months as it targets to upskill 2.3 million small businesses and their people to become Australia’s cybersecurity frontline.

The story is originally published on Inside Small Business.

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