Investing in cybersecurity should be a no-brainer for the budget, data expert says

Data strategy veteran Lisa Byrne of Notitia expects to see increased cybersecurity investment spending in the federal budget next Tuesday, saying the move is a “no brainer” for the government.

Byrne says it is critical that small businesses are incentivized to implement cybersecurity systems and upskill their workforce to meet the growing threat from hackers and others.

“Given the high-profile data breaches of the past year and the government’s aim to become ‘the most cyber-secure nation’ by 2030, it makes sense for companies to be given an edge in protecting customer data, especially given that Australia is currently #21 of #75 countries, which means we should move up three places a year, every year for the next seven years,” she said.

“It is absolutely time-critical for small businesses to step forward, fulfill their cybersecurity responsibilities and do their part to address the skills gap, training Australia’s future cybersecurity workforce,” she said.

Byrne points to incentives for small businesses to invest in digital technology, cybersecurity and upskilling in last year’s budget under the former coalition government, saying the recent hacks have created a sense of urgency for businesses.

TThe former Morrison government has announced it will support small businesses through the Boost for small business technology investments and Boost for small business skills and training. The Technology Investment Boost is designed small companies with annual revenues of less than $50 million deduct a 20% bonus from the cost of digital technology spending. The skills and education boost offers a similar incentive.

But nearly a year after voters switched horses and installed Labor and Anthony Albanese as prime minister, the measures have still not been transposed into law. It was intended to operate between March 29, 2022 and June 20, 2023 for eligible expenses.

Nearly a year later, with high-profile hacks like the Medibank data breach now leading to a class action lawsuit, Byrne says it’s vital the government ramps up its support for companies to improve their cyber defenses.

“The only way to slow down or mitigate the impact of cybercrime is to ensure that every business, large or small, is adequately protected and trained,” she said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will announce the federal budget on Tuesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.