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O’Neil Sets Cyber Agenda Until 2030


The Australian Government has recently launched a new Cyber Security Strategy for 2023-2030, a plan that addresses the evolving digital threats. This is especially relevant for small and medium businesses (SMBs), which are often more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

Financial Commitment and SMB-Focused Initiatives 

A total of $586.9 million is distributed to various sectors under the strategy, showing a substantial investment in cyber security. Key initiatives for SMBs include:

1. Cyber Health-Check Program 

Budgeted at $7.2 million, this program provides free cyber security assessments to help SMBs identify vulnerabilities. This initiative enables businesses to conduct a free, tailored self-assessment of their cyber security, helping them understand and improve their defences. It also provides access to educational tools and resources for upskilling.

2. Small Business Cyber Resilience Service 

With an $11 million budget, this service offers personalised support to SMBs for navigating cyber security challenges. 

Breaking Down the Six Cyber Shields

The strategy introduces six primary areas of focus, termed as ‘cyber shields,’ each addressing various aspects of cyber security:

1. Strong Businesses and Citizens

This aims to enhance the cyber capabilities of both individuals and organisations, crucial for SMBs to bolster their defences.

2. Safe Technology

Ensuring the technology used by SMBs is secure and reliable, protecting them from threats that target software and devices.

3. World-Class Threat Sharing and Blocking

Encourages SMBs to share information about cyber threats, helping them to prepare and protect themselves more effectively.

4. Protected Critical Infrastructure

Focuses on securing essential services, which is vital as many SMBs depend on infrastructure like power and telecommunications.

5. Sovereign Capabilities

Developing national cyber ability to provide SMBs with local, specialised cyber security solutions.

6. Resilient Region and Global Leadership

Involves strengthening Australia’s role in international cyber security, helping SMBs with global interests.

The Strategy’s Broader Goals 

  • The strategy focuses on enhancing cyber security across several sectors, aiming to create a more secure digital environment for all businesses.  
  • There’s a commitment to making Australia a leading figure in global cyber discussions, a move that could shape international cyber practices and standards, benefiting local SMBs. 

Discussion Paper and Its Role 

To shape and refine this strategy, the Expert Advisory Board released a discussion paper to call for public input. This paper is gathers insights and feedback from various stakeholders, including SMBs, on how the government can achieve its vision under the Strategy. 

Implications for Small Businesses 

  • The strategy’s targeted support acknowledges that cyber-attacks can severely impact SMBs, both financially and reputationally.  
  • The emphasis on strengthening Australia’s privacy laws as part of the strategy also aims to make SMBs less attractive targets for cyber criminals. 

Conclusion and Resources 

As we head towards 2030, the real test for Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy is in the hands of small and medium business owners. It’s about how they take on the challenge, using the government’s initiatives to improve their cyber defences.  

For extra help and tips on staying cyber safe, check out our resources – Cyber Security for Small Businesses and the Cyber Security Guide. They’re regularly updated with the latest Australian-specific information to help you keep your business secure in the digital world. 

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.


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