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Bolstering Security Across Australia’s Critical Infrastructure

Linton Burling, General Manager - Vault Cloud
Reading Time: 4 minutes

COVID-19 has no doubt ignited tremendous change across all facets of Australian life, with our nation facing some of the biggest challenges we’ve seen in decades. Following increased cyber-attacks since the start of the pandemic, the Australian Government has realised the importance of protecting our critical infrastructure and moving towards a strategy aimed at safeguarding Australia’s essential services – energy, food, water, transport, communications, health, banking and finance and most recently cloud and data – from cyber threats.

Our nation’s critical infrastructure is a highly connected and independent system – one that supports and drives our day to day operations. However, connectivity without security creates vulnerabilities that can cause immense disruption that affects the health of our nation.

According to Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 report, just four-weeks of digital disruption resulting from a significant cyber incident could cost the local economy $30 billion, the equivalent of about 1.5 percent of GDP and an estimated loss of 163,000 jobs.  

The impacts of recent local cyber events only reinforces the need for collaboration and shared regulatory patterns across critical infrastructure sectors and all levels of government to protect our economy, security and sovereignty.

Protecting your future

Critical services are using data as a key driver behind their operations more than ever, putting Australian businesses and their leaders at increased risk every day. Whether you’re a healthcare provider with vast amounts of patient data or a financial institution that uses customer information to improve your suite of services, your data must be protected with the proper infrastructure.

Let’s look at logistics giant Toll Group for example, which faced two cyber attacks earlier this year. Though the company had security measures in place, Toll Chairman John Mullen admitted that despite “ticking all the boxes” when it comes to cyber security, there are still vulnerabilities that can put companies at risk — emphasising the importance for Australian business to do their homework when it comes to protecting their assets.

Under the Australian government’s proposed security reform and framework, critical industries would be regulated from threats such as these. However, this framework is still in the preliminary stages, with the government calling on industries to share their insights on how the framework can and should work. As we await progress on this framework, Australian businesses can still find ways to enhance their data security on their own.

Developing your security strategy

Taking actionable steps to become more secure may seem like a daunting and costly task for small and medium businesses, particularly as many do not know where to begin. 

To strengthen your cyber security, a helpful place to start is through these five steps, which were recently outlined by the Australian government. 

Here is a summarised checklist: 

  1. Routinely backup your critical business data – either to an external drive stored securely or, for greater flexibility and reliability, to a secure cloud 
  2. Encrypt your network and data to ensure that only authorised parties can access critical information.
  3. Put in place cyber security policies and programmes to educate staff on common threats. 
  4. Review access controls and gatekeepers of critical information or important tasks.
  5. Assess the physical location of your data, and be aware of the storage practices and regulations of your cloud providers.

As an Australian born, on-shore, cloud services provider, Vault welcomes the opportunity to assist fellow Australian businesses of all sizes in building awareness and developing processes, people and technology that protect them from digital vulnerabilities. We have an extensive ecosystem of partners that we work with to provide the application or platform that meets the unique needs of their business.

Vault continues to keep up-to-date with all mandated changes post consultation and legislation and are committed to maintaining its levels of certification. We are here if you want to understand our capabilities of how we can help mitigate these future changes and get ahead, especially during these vulnerable times. Feel free to contact us any time.

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