Spark New Zealand offers Special Tool for vulnerable SMEs
Auckland, December 19, 2018
Business Disruption caused by Cyber Security issues is a major threat to businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly getting worried over escalating costs of erecting firewalls and other protectionist measures.
This was among the major findings of the Global Investor Survey 2018 conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently.
The Survey, 21st in an annual series, sought online responses from 663 investment professionals in 96 countries across the Continents and involved 19 in-depth interviews in six countries. The Survey also accounted for 1293 Chief Executives worldwide.
PwC said that technological advancements are always in the news and hence it is not surprising that the concerns of investment professionals and CEOs about the speed of technological change and cyber threats have also increased.
“But investment professionals and CEOs differ quite significantly in their views of whether overregulation, availability of key skills, terrorism and an increasing tax burden will affect company growth prospects; although these are keeping CEOs up at night, they don’t seem to be as concerning to investment professionals,” the Survey said.
Spark NZ Solution
Spark New Zealand cited the Survey Report saying that 41% of respondents believed that Cyber Security is the primary threat to business growth, and that according to another recent research, the average cyber-attack costs SMEs in New Zealand more than $15,000.
Spark’s Security Lead Josh Bahlman said that ‘Spark Lab,’ the Company’s Digital Business Mentor Programme has launched ‘Pulse Check,’ a new tool that is available to all New Zealanders in the country.
Spark Lab helps Kiwi businesses find their edge through digital tools, inspirational content and practical advice.
The free-to-use tool can be accessed at www.sparklab.co.nz
“Spark Lab has launched ‘Pulse Check’ to help SMEs identify their Cyber Security weak spots and remedy them,” Mr Bahlman said.
“SMEs are struggling to stay ahead of the Cyber Security curve. Their attention is often turned to more attractive tech categories such as Lead-Generation, LoT and Mobile Working and in turn, Cyber Security Readiness remains on the backburner; but that needs to change,” he said.
Stating that one in four Kiwi businesses was a Cyber Target last year, Mr Bahlman said that the number is growing.
“Pulse Check takes five minutes to complete and will quickly show SMEs how exposed they are in comparison to other companies. As people move through Pulse Check, the tool provides useful advice about how businesses could improve their digital security practices,” he said.
“Cyber Security should become synonymous with commercial health and safety practises and codes. Implementing best practice security processes will become a crucial step for any growing business. Security should be a matter of hygiene for any SME. Turning on something as simple and cost-effective as two-factor authentication could be the difference between a scammer getting access to sensitive information or more so, not getting access to sensitive information,” he added.
Challenges for SMEs
Economist and Spark Lab advisor Cameron Bagrie said that an evolving microeconomic issue for small businesses is how they handle the opportunities and challenges of data and information security.
He said that it is important but does not get enough attention under the broad topic of Disruption.
“Increasingly, we are seeing how important robust security systems are to consumers when it comes to brand trust and purchasing decisions; knowing these businesses should be prioritising security practices, doing their research or engaging experts to get a complete view of their vulnerabilities,” he said.
The worries of CEOs
The PwC Survey found that CEOs are concerned about over-regulation, terrorism and taxes than investors are, but both are concerned about cyber threats and geopolitical uncertainty.
“Investment professionals and CEOs both agree that the increasing pressure for companies to deliver results under shorter timelines is the biggest challenge that companies face today. But, in other areas, investment professionals think companies face a greater degree of challenge than CEOs say they experience, with the biggest difference being the perception of declining trust between companies and governments, their workforce and their customers,” it said.