IT leaders urge Australian govt to boost cyber threat funding

A recent pre-election poll conducted by Exposure Management firm Tenable reveals a prevailing sentiment among Australian IT and cybersecurity leaders that the federal government has not done enough to mitigate evolving cyber threats facing enterprises. The poll highlights a strong demand for increased federal funding directed towards preventive cybersecurity measures.

According to the poll results, 79% of IT and cybersecurity leaders advocate for augmented federal investment in preventive cybersecurity initiatives. While the capacity to respond to and recover from cyber incidents remains critical, there is a notable emphasis on the importance of preventing such incidents from occurring in the first place.

The data for this poll was gathered in collaboration with Pure Profile and involved over 200 IT and cybersecurity leaders spanning diverse sectors, including insurance, banking, education, healthcare, and transport in Australia. Notably, the findings suggest a split in confidence regarding the government’s effectiveness in handling cyber-related challenges. Although 60% of respondents expressed confidence in the wake of the recent budget announcement, nearly 40% believed that the measures fell short of comprehensive requirements.

The increase in cybercrime exacerbates these concerns. According to the most recent Australian Signals Directorate Report, cybercrime incidents affecting enterprises have surged by 23%, resulting in an average report every six minutes compared to one report every seven minutes last year. The financial repercussions of cybercrime are also escalating, with the average costs increasing by up to 14%.

IT leaders are adopting preventive measures as a strategic response to these threats. The survey underscores several key strategies: 64% of respondents highlighted the importance of access controls and monitoring, another 64% emphasised regular software updates and patch management, and 60% stressed the need for continuous employee training and education on cybersecurity best practices.

These measures are proving beneficial, particularly in terms of financial implications for organisations. The poll revealed that 44% of IT leaders reported experiencing reductions in cyber insurance premiums by 5% to 15%, underscoring the financial advantages that come with investing in preventive cybersecurity efforts. These reductions not only alleviate financial pressures but also reflect insurers’ recognition of the efficacy of proactive cybersecurity practices.

Scott McKinnel, Country Manager of Tenable ANZ, commented on the findings by stating, “While it’s encouraging to see that a significant portion of IT leaders believe the federal budget is addressing cyber threats, the strong call for preventive measures cannot be ignored. Organisations that adopt proactive risk management strategies not only enhance their security but also benefit financially through reduced insurance premiums. Both public and private sectors must continue to collaborate and prioritise preventive measures to stay ahead of emerging threats.”

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