Government to help pay for pentesting small businesses

Government initiative aims to boost small businesses’ security

The federal government has formally launched its $10 million Cyber Security Small Business Program.

The two-year program is available to businesses with 19 or fewer employees. An eligible business is able to apply for a grant worth up to $2100 to help pay to have its security tested.

The grant will cover half the cost of engaging a service provider approved by the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers Australia New Zealand (CREST ANZ).

“The health check involves a certified CREST approved provider performing a cyber security test to determine your business risk and areas that need attention,” state the grant guidelines. “These health checks are essentially the same, but vary in price depending on the number of devices that are checked.”

The program will run until 30 June 2020.

The government said that a $2 million grant to CREST ANZ as part of the program would boost the organisation’s ability to aid small businesses with information security.

“Support from CREST ANZ will provide pathways for small businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities that connected technologies provide,” said minister for industry, science and technology, Karen Andrews.

The plan to support small businesses through helping defray the cost of having their security tested was included in the government’s 2016 national cyber security strategy.

“Small businesses often find it challenging to allocate resources to do cyber security well. Without adequate cyber security they can become the soft underbelly or back door into connected organisations,” the document said.

“The Government will provide support for small businesses to have their cyber security tested by certified practitioners.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of Australia’s economy and this funding from the Liberal-National Government underlines our determination to help provide a healthy digital environment so they can prosper,” Andrews said.

New research released last week provided a snapshot of the cyber security sector skills shortage. A shortfall in the nation’s cyber security workforce may already be costing Australia more than $400 million in lost revenue and wages, according to data released by AustCyber.

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