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Spark Lab launches free cybersecurity tool for SMBs

11 Dec 2018
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Spark Lab has launched a new tool that it hopes will help New Zealand’s small businesses understand their cybersecurity risks.

The new tool, called Pulse Check, helps businesses assess their cybersecurity readiness and is available free of charge to anybody who wishes to use it.

According to Spark security lead Josh Bahlman, the tool provides an easy way of helping SMBs get an idea of where their security vulnerabilities are.

Spark Lab refers to a 2018 study from PwC that found 41% of investors are now extremely concerned about cyber threats.

With that in mind, SMBs need to ensure that their business interests and data are secure.

“Small-to-medium business owners are struggling to stay ahead of the cybersecurity curve. SME business owners’ attention is often turned to more attractive tech categories such as lead-generation, IoT and mobile working and in turn, cybersecurity readiness remains on the back-burner – but that needs to change,” says Bahlman.

Spark Lab also refers to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Survey, which found that one in four New Zealand businesses were targeted in a cybercrime last year.

“That number is growing,” says Bahlman. “Pulse Check takes five minutes to complete and will quickly show SMEs how exposed they are in comparison to other companies.”

The tool provides a series of questions that guide business owners on how and why they need to increase their cybersecurity levels. It also suggests new processes and procedures.

Spark Lab advisor and economist Cameron Bagrie says that the way SMBs handle the challenges of information and data security is an evolving microeconomic issue.

“It’s an important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention under the broad topic of disruption,” Bagrie says.

“Increasingly we are seeing how important robust security systems are to consumers when it comes to brand trust and purchasing decisions; knowing these businesses should be prioritising security practices, doing their research or engaging experts to get a complete view of their vulnerabilities.”

Bahlman adds that cybersecurity should be synonymous with commercial health and safety practices and codes.

“Implementing best practice security processes will become a crucial step for any growing business,” says Bahlman.

“Security should be a matter of hygiene for any SME. Turning on something as simple and cost-effective as two-factor authentication could be the difference between a scammer getting access to sensitive information or more so, not getting access to sensitive information.”

Pulse Check is accessible from the Spark Lab website from today and takes five minutes to complete.