Australia Tops Asian Region for Cyber Security Risks: Report

21 October 2015

The number of detected cyber security incidents in Australia was the highest worldwide in the last 12 months with an increase of 109 percent, compared to a 38.5 percent increase globally, according to local data from The Global State of Information Security Survey 2016, released today by PwC's Australian and Asia-pacific cyber leader, Steve Ingram.

"The frequency of cyber security incidents in Australia almost tripled that of the rest of the world from 2014 to 2015," Mr Ingram said.

"Encouragingly, investment in managing cyber threats has also increased, reversing last year's slight drop in security spending.

"The average loss experienced by Australian businesses now comes close to equalling the average amount of budget allocated to security."

  • Australia had the highest number of incidents - 9,434;
  • The second highest average loss from these incidents behind Japan - $3.27 million;
  • Australia gets a better return ($347 per incident) on their security spend compared to that of Japan ($1,558), China ($2,209), and New Zealand ($851);
  • Businesses boosted their security budgets by 59 percent - to 4.02 percent of overall IT budgets - compared to 24 percent increase globally;
  • There is a strong focus on cyber security leadership, with 23 percent of Australian businesses implementing a Chief Security Officer (CSO) role in the next 12 months.

According to Ingram, the rising frequency of cyber security incidents is partly attributable to increased spending.

"This means that the capability to detect incidents has also increased, however Australian businesses still face significant cyber challenges

"The willingness to invest in cyber security is positive; however, many businesses are yet to come to terms with Cyber being a people issue not technology - they still face significant issues around response protocols and disaster preparedness, third party suppliers, governance and employee engagement and the speed of innovation. It doesn't matter how much you spend on technology of your suppliers are doing the same or if you people don't understand their role in Cyber"

Identity and access management, cloud computing top priorities

The top security priorities over the next 12 months in Australia are cloud computing, security and identity and access management, which aligns with the global trend of companies adapting to cloud-based cybersecurity measures.

"Cloud computing in particular has emerged as a sophisticated cybersecurity tool in recent years," said Mr Ingram.

Of the report's 10,040 respondents around the globe, 69 percent said they use cloud-based security services to help protect sensitive data and ensure privacy and the protection of consumer information.

"They entrust a broadening range of critical services to the cloud, including real-time monitoring and analytics, advanced authentication, and identity and access management," Mr Ingram said.

"Many are also moving toward a more collaborative approach to cybersecurity where intelligence on threats and response techniques are shared with external partners."

"In Australia, the use of cloud-based security services is on the rise, albeit more slowly than expected.

"Australian businesses are starting to take an enterprise-wide business-oriented view of this important risk area, but the challenge they face is in keeping up with the rate of adoption of new technology. Businesses need to embrace new technology to remain competitive, speed of innovation is the name of the game - the challenge is improving security with the same level of speed and agility."

Access the Australian and Global reports

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