In a survey of investors, 41% see cyber security as the number threat to business growth while recent research states the average cyber-attack costs Kiwi SMEs over $15,000.
Acknowledging this threat to homegrown Kiwi businesses, Spark Lab has launched a new tool to help small-to-medium enterprise (SMEs) identify their cyber security weak spots and remedy them.
Pulse Check, accessible from the Spark Lab website, is a newly-developed (free of charge), digital business tool that is available to all New Zealanders. Spark’s Security Lead, Josh Bahlman says the tool is an easy way for SMEs to get an idea of where their security vulnerabilities lie.
“Small-to-medium business owners are struggling to stay ahead of the cyber-security curve. SME business owners attention is often turned to more attractive tech categories such as lead-generation, IoT and mobile working and in turn, cyber-security readiness remains on the back-burner – but that needs to change.
“One in four kiwi businesses were a target of cyber-crime last year and that number is growing,” says Bahlman. “Pulse Check takes five minutes to complete and will quickly show SMEs how exposed they are in comparison to other companies.”
As people move through Pulse Check the tool provides useful advice about how businesses could improve their digital security practices. Bahlman states “Cyber-security should become synonymous with commercial health and safety practises and codes. Implementing best practice security processes will become a crucial step for any growing business.
“Security should be a matter of hygiene for any SME. Turning on something as simple and cost-effective as 2-factor authentication could be the difference between a scammer getting access to sensitive information or more so, not getting access to sensitive information.”
Economist and Spark Lab advisor Cameron Bagrie says an evolving microeconomic issue for small businesses is how they handle the opportunities and challenges of data and information security.
“It’s an important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention under the broad topic of disruption. Bagrie adds, “Increasingly we are seeing how important robust security systems are to consumers when it comes to brand trust and purchasing decisions; knowing these businesses should be prioritising security practices, doing their research or engaging experts to get a complete view of their vulnerabilities.”