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Huge risk: Steps to protect and preserve online data Posted on October 10, 2022

cyber security

The largest cyberattack in Australia’s history via Optus in September has sparked huge concern over the susceptibility of our data, our identities and our credit. Almost in the same week that the hack occurred, the ATO announced that it intends to be fully digital by 2030. So how can you protect your business and personal data in the current environment?

The first thing to acknowledge is that cybersecurity is a moving feast and no one is immune to an attack. The trick is doing your due diligence when submitting your data, constantly updating your protection devices, and then responding quickly when exposed.

10 million Optus customers had the right to assume that their data was safe with one of the biggest telcos in the country. Optus dropped the ball and is now mopping up the mess. Customers have been told they do not need to act, however constant changing of your online passwords, setting up two-factor authentication on all accounts, and monitoring of your credit rating is important.

The ATO’s commitment to be fully digital by 2030 in a phase called ‘Tax Administration 3.0’ is aimed at standardising real-time reporting and payment, and to provide taxpayers as seamless communication stream between income in and out. ‘Seamless’ is an interesting word in relation to online presence. It’s seamless, until it’s not.

The risks remain high for this kind of business. The Institute for Management Development (IMD) recently ranked Australia 20th overall – down six places since the pandemic – in a review of each country for business agility, entrepreneurial risk-taking and cyber security preparedness. We were 31st for cyber security and 38th for government cyber security capacity. It’s a real worry so we have to take matters into our own hands as much as possible. Three of the biggest IT security challenges have been identified as keeping up with privacy requirements (61%), the changing/evolving nature of IT threats (60%) and building a culture of data stewardship (39%).

So, what can you do as a business?

This digital direction and increase in cyberattacks means that businesses in particular need sharp online reporting software such as Xero or MYOB, and full cyber protection software. However, it is not enough to install software from the shelf. Businesses MUST enlist the help of accounting and cyber professionals to audit your online presence, even conduct ethical hacking to identify your weak spots and recommend protections. Talk to your experts about the frequency of review that you need.

To understand more about your online business presence, join our Business Workshop on Wednesday evening 19 October at our offices in Gosford. Register here.

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Get in touch with our team today and learn how you and your business can grow to the next level. From structuring to sustainability, we'll help you reach your financial goals and live the lifestyle you deserve.

be better off.