The New Cybersecurity Strategy for Australia
The Cyber Summit
On September 18, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) held its inaugural Cyber Summit in Sydney. A multitude of guest speakers were in attendance such as The Hon Clare O’Neil (Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Cyber Security) and Air Marshal Darren Goldie (National Cyber Security Coordinator). During the Summit, O’Neil presented an updated look at Australia’s new cybersecurity strategy, which aims to make Australia the most cyber-secure country by 2030. To accomplish this, the government intends to build six cyber shields around the nation, which, according to O’Neil, will result in “…a cohesive, planned national response that builds to a more protected Australia.”
The Six Shields
The first shield will focus on educating the nation on cyber threats and methods of protection to provide the population with an understanding that they can in fact protect themselves. It will also ensure that significant supports are in place so that victims can recover quickly from attacks.
The second shield will ensure the protection of citizens and businesses with safe technology and clear standards for products regarding their digital security. This way, manufacturers and developers will only be able to create and sell secure products and consumers will have that peace of mind when making purchases.
The third shield will encompass “…world-class threat sharing and threat blocking.” By 2030, O’Neil believes that real-time sharing of cyber threat intelligence between government and businesses will become a reality. This proactive approach would significantly increase the chances of threats being blocked before they can cause damage.
The fourth shield will protect critical infrastructure, ensuring that Australians have safe and uninterrupted access to essential services. This includes the bolstering of the government’s own cyber defences.
The fifth shield is sovereign capability. To ensure that by 2030, Australia is not only able to combat the rising risks of cyber threats but is also at the forefront of changing technologies. The goal is for Australia to be positioned within a prosperous cyber ecosystem and to make cyber security a highly sought after profession to ensure that the continuous improvement of the country’s cyber skills.
The sixth shield involves engaging in coordinated international initiatives and advocating for greater regional resilience. The government is committed to establishing strategic partnerships within the region, extending assistance to nations grappling with similar challenges.
Knowing that the challenge of cybersecurity will continue to transform, O’Neil’s cybersecurity strategy for Australia is to complete the work in two-year blocks. This way, a thorough analysis can take place before beginning the next phase of the strategy.
O’Neil stressed that a successful cybersecurity strategy will not result in a world without cyber-attacks. Instead, it will result in a world where the “…government is a convenor and a leader and a partner to all…in helping tackle that challenge” and individuals and organisations will be able to quickly bounce back from attacks.
O’Neil also recognised the need to improve the government’s role in cyber incident response including streamlining the reporting process stating that some boards “…have a long list sometimes of 30 or 40 people that they need to call within government when they come under cyber attack.”
At Step Fwd IT, the comprehensive cybersecurity strategy presented at the AFR’s Cyber Summit resonates deeply with us. The vision of enveloping Australia within six cyber shields not only speaks to national resilience but also to the core of our beliefs and mission.
Education lies at the heart of the first shield. In this regard, we understand that Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and K-12 schools represent segments that could greatly benefit from targeted cybersecurity education and resources. These institutions often lack the vast resources of larger entities but are equally, if not more, vulnerable to cyber threats. We have always championed the cause of making cyber-awareness and security more accessible to these groups. By delivering tailored cybersecurity solutions and training programs, we aim to empower these institutions with the knowledge and tools they need to defend against and respond to cyber threats.
The emphasis on secure technology, threat sharing, and international collaboration particularly excites us. As the digital landscape continuously evolves, the collaborative approach underscored by the strategy is crucial. SMBs and schools need to be part of a wider, coordinated defence mechanism, and we are proud to facilitate that connection.
In our ongoing work with SMBs and K-12 schools, we witness firsthand the challenges they face in navigating the digital realm securely. This new strategy amplifies the importance of our role in the ecosystem. It’s a testament to the fact that while overarching national strategies are vital, their real impact is felt when businesses like ours take the initiative to localise and tailor these strategies to fit the unique needs of specific sectors.
We are fully on board with the government’s vision and see ourselves as partners in this journey. Step Fwd IT is steadfast in our commitment to harnessing the best of technology and cybersecurity practices to ensure our clients remain protected, aware, and resilient. By working in tandem with the broader goals of Australia’s cybersecurity strategy, we are eager to pave the way for a more cyber-secure future for SMBs, K-12 schools, and the nation at large.