Online security breaches are costing Australian businesses an average of nearly AU$600,000 annually, according to Dell Software's latest global security survey.
The report, which involved 1,440 interviews during October and November 2013, shows that almost one in 10 (9 percent) Australian businesses are losing up to AU$5 million annually. However, by comparison to the global average, Dell said it is relatively low, as international businesses are reporting losing AU$917,800 annually.
Also, over half (58 percent) of Australian businesses reported a cyberbreach in the past 12 months. When asked about the cause of their last cyberattack, 40 percent of respondents said it was an outside attack, while 24 percent experienced a malware or virus intrusion. One fifth noted that their last attack was a result of mobile device vulnerability.
However, 30 percent of surveyed businesses said they remain unsure of their ability to fight security threats.
Dell said Australian businesses are known to be the slowest to react to security breaches, taking an average of 10 hours to identify the source — the longest of any surveyed nation — and take a further five hours to commence any action once the breach has been discovered versus the global average of seven hours to detect a breach.
Dell Software Australia general manager Ian Hodge said more awareness needs to be raised when it comes to security in order for businesses to be better prepared, especially given how sophisticated threats have become.
"There is still a disturbing lack of understanding and awareness of the type of impact and detriment caused by these threats that can come from both sides of an organisation's perimeter," he said.
"As a result, we believe a new security approach is needed — one that's embedded in the fabric of software, governing access to every application and protecting every device, both inside and outside a corporate network.
"Only then will organisations have a chance at keeping one step ahead of these epidemic threats that can significantly damage their network."
Sixty percent of Australian survey respondents said they have increased their spending on education and training of employees in the past 12 months, while 57 percent believe security training for both new and current employees is a priority. At the same time, 40 percent of Australian businesses have increased spending in monitoring services over the past year.
Meanwhile, some respondents believe that restructuring IT processes in order to be more collaborative with other departments is one solution to stay ahead of the next security threats. Of those surveyed, 64 percent of Australians agreed with the 85 percent of businesses in the US, but 43 percent of businesses in the UK and 45 percent of Canadian businesses were the least convinced this would be necessary.
In the future, Australian IT decision makers said they will be keeping a close watch on three keys areas that they believe will be top security concerns in the next five years: BYOD, cloud, and the internet. At present, 42 percent of Australian businesses have instituted security policies around BYOD, while 50 percent are currently using email security in an effort to prevent external attacks accessing the network via that vector.