Many small business owners assume that their employees or young family members who are familiar with social media can protect their business from cyber-attacks.

New research shows that Australians under 30 are less likely than their older counterparts to be aware of cyber threats.

Recent survey by Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s Cyber Wardens Program revealed that this may not be true. The survey included more than 2000 small business owners, employees and managers. It found that Australia’s first digital natives, who grew up in a technological world, were among the least knowledgeable about common cyber security threats, such as ransomware and identity theft.

COSBOA chairman Matthew Addison stated that a good first step would be to determine who is responsible for the cyber security of your business. Don’t assume that your children or younger employees will be the most safe pair of hands for online activity.

According to the survey, small business owners shouldn’t rely on their employees or young family members for their cyber security. They should instead invest in cyber security tools and training to protect their business from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity threats are always evolving. Small business owners need to be proactive in staying informed about the latest threats, as well as ways to mitigate these threats.

The results of the survey are a warning to small business owners that rely regularly on their younger employees or family members to manage technology and social media for business. Data shows that Australian small business owners, employees and managers need to be more confident in their abilities to prepare for and fight a cyber-threat.

Four out of five Australian small businesses and their employees are lacking confidence when it comes to preparing, combating and recovering from cyber threats. The survey examined the generational approach to cyber security and found that two thirds of Australian small-business owners (67%) believe that tech-savviness is equivalent to cyber safety.

This assumption is not completely true, as research shows that Gen Z employees, born after 1997 and the first digital natives may have grown with technology and social networks, but they are the least cyber-safe. They lack the awareness and key skills of cyber security, compared to older colleagues.

GenXers, upper Millennials and GenXers are likely to take cybersecurity very seriously

Interestingly, GenXers and upper Millennials are most likely to take cyber-security seriously.

Gen Z, despite being less aware of cyber threats than their older counterparts rated their ability to prepare, fight, and respond to cyber attacks as equal to all other generations. This suggests inflated levels in confidence.

There is also good news for owners of small businesses. Gen Z was found to be the generation most eager to learn and contribute towards a cyber-safety culture in their workplace. One-half of Gen Z employees are interested in joining the Cyber Wardens Program.

Cyber Wardens, developed by Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank in partnership, will be implemented this year. It is designed to protect Australia’s small businesses, which number 2.3 million, and secure the digital front door of all businesses.

This program is designed to equip small business owners with the skills and knowledge they need to detect, prevent and respond to cyber-threats. The program includes best practices in password management, email safety, incident response and access to tools and resources.

It is important that small businesses invest in cyber security tools and training to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Cybersecurity threats are always evolving. Small business owners must be proactive in staying informed about the latest threats.

Small business owners who have the right tools and knowledge can protect their customers and themselves from cyber-threats and keep their businesses secure in the digital era.

Keith Howard, CBA’s Chief Information Security Office said that the Cyber Wardens Program would provide small business owners, their employees, and other online users with simple and easy-to-use tools and information.

Cyber Wardens, a program that focuses on practical behaviour change and not technical jargon will provide small business owners and employees with simple ways to protect both their professional and personal lives online.

“It is great that we are working with COSBOA, Telstra and Australia’s 5 million small businesses to create a frontline defense against cyber threats,” Mr Howard said.