From risk to enabler: Australian insights on cybersecurity

Findings from PwC’s 26th Global Digital Trust Insights 2024

Transforming cyber risks into business rewards

Australian companies are ahead of their global peers in many of the ways they are responding to the increasing incidence of cyber attacks, according to PwC’s 26th Global Digital Trust Insights 2024. However, if they want to deliver on their optimistic expectations for revenue growth, supported by digital transformation and AI, there’s more they can do to see cybersecurity as an enabler and integrate it throughout business functions.

Cyber attacks are more than just a risk to be managed by Australian businesses; they are a reality. Almost 9 out of 10 businesses experienced a data breach in the past three years - about half of those suffering breaches costing more than $1.57million. Beyond the monetary cost, 49% of respondents are worried about the loss of customer, employee or transaction data and 43% are worried about brand damage (including losing customer confidence).

C-suite playbook on cybersecurity and digital trust

Explore the views of global and local senior executives on the challenges and opportunities to improve and transform cybersecurity within their organisations

Australia's Outlook

Business leaders are responding by: 

  • Increasing cybersecurity budgets - 74% of respondents are increasing cybersecurity budgets in the year ahead (compared to 60% in 2023), with a particular focus on application and cloud security;

  • Improving governance and reporting lines - with 33% of cyber teams reporting directly to the Board compared to 19% globally; and
  • Boosting resilience - such as identifying critical business processes (42% in Australia compared to 35% globally).

This response is, in part, shaped by our regulatory environment, which is catching up to the rest of the world, notably in critical industries. The 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy seeks to chart a course to enhance and harmonise regulations, secure government systems, build frameworks to respond to major incidents, and strengthen our international strategy.

While the cybersecurity focus of Australian companies is commendable, there’s still room for improvement. For example, only 36% of respondents indicated their company has a disaster recovery and back-up plan that they continually update.

PwC’s global research shows there’s much to be gained by elevating cybersecurity to the epicentre of a business. What do the digital market leaders do differently? They see cybersecurity as an enabler to transformational growth. They are responsive, agile and collaborative, and they inform and engage with all business units to gain trust and momentum. In turn, their efforts yield fewer breaches and lower costs.

Top cyber threats to organisations over the next 12 months

Question: Over the next 12 months, which of the following cyber threats is your organisation most concerned about? (Ranked in top three).
Base: Global = 3876, Australia = 122
Source: PwC, 2024 Global Digital Trust Insights.

How are organisations' cyber budgets changing in 2024?

Question: How is your organisation’s cyber budget changing in 2024?
Base: Global = 3876, Australia = 122
Source: PwC, 2024 Global Digital Trust Insights.

Emerging opportunities from generative AI

Australians are optimistic about GenAI opportunities. Four out of five (80%) believe it will help to develop new lines of business in the next three years. Most believe this technology will drive employee productivity and lead to tangible gains in the next year (68%). From this positive mindset, a majority (67%) are willing to proceed with the use of GenAI before external regulation, subject to internal policies and controls. Conversely, business leaders also have a degree of caution with concerns over costs associated with increasing AI regulation and business transformation.

To what extent do businesses agree or disagree with the following statements about GenAI?

Question: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Generative AI? (Those who selected ‘Strongly agree’ or ‘Agree’).
Base: Global = 3876, Australia = 122
Source: PwC, 2024 Global Digital Trust Insights.

Actionable Insights

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Collaborate across the business to raise cyber awareness. Involve other business units such as software engineering, product management, procurement and marketing.

technology pictogram

Anticipate future cyber risks within the macro environment and business strategy.

software pictogram

Communicate the cyber strategy and practices openly to the organisation and partners.

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Bring insights on changing cyber risk exposure and mitigation to the CEO and board.

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Expedite digital and other major transformation initiatives, such as designing security and privacy into new products and services.

From risk to enabler: Australian insights on cybersecurity.

Related Content

About the survey

The DTI survey received 3876 responses globally, including 122 participants from Australia. There were 71 territories represented and a range of industry sectors and organisation sizes.

Globally, sectors included industrial manufacturing (20%), financial services (20%), technology, media and telecommunications (19%), retail and consumer (17%), energy, utilities and resources (11%), healthcare (9%), and government and public services (3%). Of these, 43% had revenues of more than $10bn. One-quarter were publicly listed, while 30% were privately owned with backing from private equity.

PwC asked core questions for all job roles, and added additional queries for those in security and IT roles (CIO, CSO, CTO, Cybersecurity Director, Information Security Director, Information Technology Director).

Contact us

Robert Di Pietro

Robert Di Pietro

Cybersecurity & Digital Trust Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 418 533 346