Cost vs. Benefit of Cyber Security for Small Businesses

Cost vs. Benefit of Cyber Security for Small Businesses

Implementing a cyber security system for a small business may seem complex, daunting and expensive.

However, the cost of not protecting your business could be far greater.

Unlike large companies, most small businesses do not need enterprise level cyber security systems; but no system is not the answer either.

In this blog we assess the costs of not having cyber security and provide some practical, affordable tips to help get your business better protected.

The True Cost of Cyber Security Breaches

Cyber security breaches can have a devastating impact on small businesses, both financially and reputationally. The direct costs associated with such breaches include data recovery expenses, fines for non-compliance with data protection regulations, and the cost of downtime. Indirect costs, although less immediately apparent, can be even more significant. These include long-term damage to customer trust, loss of competitive advantage, and the potential erosion of company reputation.

For small businesses, these costs can be crippling.

The latest data from the Australian government shows the average cost per cybercrime incident was between $46,000-$97,200 for small and medium businesses. Beyond the immediate financial impact, the long-term reputational damage can hinder business growth and erode customer confidence.

Investing in Cyber Security: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

The benefits of investing in cyber security far outweigh the costs associated with potential breaches. Beyond the physical costs of a cyber incident, cyber security also:

  1. Protects Customer Data: We have seen recently in Australia how customer data can be stolen through large Medibank and Optus breaches (amongst others). For small business, protecting customer data is just as important.  Investing in cyber security measures safeguards this valuable asset, and in turn, enhances customer trust and loyalty.
  2. Ensures Business Continuity: Cyber attacks can disrupt business operations, leading to significant financial losses due to downtime. Investing in preventive measures, ensures that your business can quickly recover from any security incident, minimising operational disruptions.
  3. Preserves Company Reputation: A single cyber security breach can harm a company’s reputation for years. Having cyber security measures in place helps avoid such scenarios, ensuring that your business maintains its hard-earned reputation.

Budget-friendly Cyber Security Practices and Tools

For small business owners, the thought of investing in cyber security can be daunting, particularly when budgets are tight. However, there are several cost-effective strategies and tools that can significantly enhance your cyber security posture without breaking the bank:

  • Sign up to a Free Program: Our partner Jam Cyber offer a free cyber security program for new and small Australian businesses. You can sign up here:
  • Employee Training: One of the most cost-effective cyber security measures is training employees on basic security practices, such as recognising phishing emails and using strong passwords. Human error is a leading cause of cyber security breaches, and educating your staff can dramatically reduce this risk.
  • Regular Software Updates: Ensuring that all software is up-to-date is a simple yet effective way to protect against vulnerabilities. Most software updates include security patches that address known issues, making this an affordable way to bolster your cyber defences.
  • Cyber Security Insurance: While not a preventive measure, cyber security insurance can offer a safety net, helping to cover the costs associated with a breach. For small businesses, this can provide peace of mind and financial stability in the event of a security incident.
  • Create a Response Plan: Having a cyber security incident response plan in place is crucial. It ensures that your business can respond quickly and effectively to a breach, minimising damage. The plan should outline roles and responsibilities, steps to contain and eradicate the threat, and processes for communicating with stakeholders. While developing a plan requires an upfront investment of time, it can save significant costs and reduce the impact of a cyber security incident. (You can get a free plan with Jam Cyber’s Free Program:


  • Adopt a Least Privilege Access Policy: Implementing a policy where employees have only the minimum level of access required to perform their jobs can greatly reduce the risk of internal threats and data breaches. This approach limits the potential damage that can be caused by compromised accounts or insider threats.


Long-term Savings and Benefits

The long-term savings and benefits of investing in cyber security are clear. By preventing potential breaches, small businesses can avoid the substantial costs associated with data loss, regulatory fines, and reputational damage. Additionally, demonstrating a commitment to cyber security can enhance customer trust and loyalty, contributing to business growth and sustainability.

For more information about cyber security support for NSEA participants, please visit:


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