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58% of Australian businesses increase IT security spending

A recent survey by Capterra reveals that Australian businesses are more actively improving their cybersecurity infrastructure to defend against potential attacks. The study’s findings show that a third (33%) of the respondents have experienced security breaches in 2023 amidst recent notable data breaches occurring at Optus and Medibank. 

Research Analyst at Capterra, Laura Burgess, said, “The survey presents us an overall picture of cybersecurity’s increasing trend in Australia. The increase of investment in AI-driven solutions should come together with a growing consciousness to alleviate weak password practices.”

“As cybersecurity threats continue, businesses are encouraged to adopt a multi-faceted approach. A combination of IT security investment, workforce education and strong security policies would help ensure an improved defence against these risks,” Laura Burgess adds. 

Cybersecurity Concerns

The biggest concern points towards advanced email phishing attacks, with 51% alarmed by the vulnerability of companies and their employees to this threat. Organisations are encouraged to prioritise awareness and defences against email phishing, which proves to be a challenge to mitigate. Other security concerns include advanced ransomware attacks (37%), AI-enhanced attacks (36%), business email compromise (28%), and software supply chain attacks (23%). 

In response to the progression of these threats, more than half (58%) of Australian businesses reported an increase in IT security spending in 2023 compared to 2022. Proper budget and cybersecurity software implementation is critical to protecting sensitive information and minimising operational disruptions.

AI-Driven Solutions

Adopting AI technologies as a cybersecurity solution shows an ongoing development, with 65% of companies allocating part of their IT budget to AI-driven cybersecurity measures. With AI making its mark in the latest technologies, this shift indicates how companies recognise its potential to safeguard information.

Major factors influencing companies’ drive to invest more in AI-driven solutions include phishing and social engineering attacks. Almost half (42%) of respondents indicated these specific threats as the main reasons in their decision-making process to improve their cybersecurity infrastructure. 

AI-driven solutions can analyse a significant amount of data, which enables immediate detection of unusual patterns that may lead to a security threat. Speed is crucial in identifying threats to allow IT security teams to receive alerts and act in real-time to minimise impact.

Weak Password Practices

While we see an increasing trend in cybersecurity technology adoption, potential exposure to threats is presented by weak password practices. It remains a persisting challenge as almost half (45%) of respondents use the same password for multiple software or accounts. The risk of exposure is heightened for employees working remotely, as their personal network may have a different level of security compared to the corporate domain. Awareness through cybersecurity training is emphasised to comprehensively address this risk, with only 36% stating they raised security concerns with their IT department.

Capterra’s ‘2024 Data Security Survey’ was conducted online in November 2023 among over 700 respondents from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India and the U.K. The report revealed that 568 are explicitly involved in their company’s cybersecurity measures, with the majority indicating they’ve increased investment in IT security.

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