Industry experts give response to budget

Industry experts give response to budget

Industry experts have been providing their responses to the Federal Government budget. Here’s what they had to say:

Marcus McNamara, Head of APAC, Sana Commerce

It’s great to see the focus on connecting regional areas as this will help businesses based in those areas to make use of the funding and initiatives for driving Australia’s digital economy strategy. At the same time, allowing businesses to claim deductions against revenue generating assets will allow companies to invest in technologies such as, e-commerce as an integral and rapidly growing sector for growth and investment.

The timing for this is perfect for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who have typically been slower to adopt technology and digitize their business practices. They’ll now be able to take the plunge and invest in technologies to emerge stronger from the turbulent pressures of the past couple of years and take advantage of the increased adaptability, productivity and encourage innovation that these technologies will deliver.  We’re further encouraged by a focus on STEM development which can only set the country up for additional innovation. This will help set us apart globally and put Australian businesses, services and products in high demand as leading global leaders.

Pieter Danhieux, Co-Founder and CEO, Secure Code Warrior

The significant increase in funding for cybersecurity initiatives is a welcome step in the right direction for Australia’s cyber defense capabilities. As it stands, according to the National Cybersecurity Index (NCSI), Australia is currently ranked 37 in terms of our government-implemented cybersecurity capacities.

This lags behind some developing nations, as well as the pace of our own digital development. This funding concentrates on the defense of critical infrastructure, cyber conflict and nation-state attacks, in addition to our security intelligence and cyber offense abilities, all of which are vitally important.

It is also brilliant to see special consideration for investing in home-grown cybersecurity solutions; these, along with organizations like the ACSC and AustCyber, show that our cyber capabilities can compete with the best in the world when well-funded.

Still, we face our own local cybersecurity skills shortage, so funding the foundations and shining more light on cybersecurity as an attractive industry is a win-win, as is nurturing the talent that allows us to compete with other tech companies on the world stage.

Investment in diversity-led STEM educational paths, encouraging a more inclusive and less intimidating tech industry is a must, as is a focus on practical skill development from the ground up, including at the software development level to ensure code-level vulnerabilities aren’t creating an even greater opportunity for cyberattacks.

It is my hope that we recognize multiple paths of defense, and help every organization deliver and maintain robust security programs. 

Budd Ilic, ANZ Regional Director – Government, Zscaler

The Australian government’s 2022-23 Federal Budget commitment of AU$9.9 billion towards cybersecurity and intelligence highlights the current geopolitical situation and the importance of cybersecurity in ensuring the security of Australians and our assets.

Cyberattacks on government and critical infrastructure particularly during a time of armed conflict and even if on the other side of the world necessitates that the Australian government commits a substantial budget towards cybersecurity in parallel to the budget it commits towards defense. 

A large proportion of the funding this budget is for the ASD and towards offensive cyber capabilities.

However, there has been a minimal commitment of AU$30.2M towards cyber hubs. While the Australian Signals Directorate has stopped certifying secure Internet gateway (SIG) services, cyber hubs are supposed to replace and improve on the SIG capabilities by “strengthening cyber monitoring, detection and response capability across government”.

If Australia is to achieve its ambition of being in the top ten of data and digital economies globally by 2030 this requires moving away from the traditional security perimeter delivered by SIGs moving to a Zero Trust architecture.

The Australian Government should be following the lead of the US and UK governments and their adoption of Zero Trust architecture. For example, the US governmentand President Biden have issued an Executive Order to improve their cybersecurity through a Zero Trust architecture.

The Executive order states “The Federal Government must adopt security best practices; advance toward Zero Trust Architecture; accelerate movement to secure cloud services, including Software- As-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS); centralize and streamline access to cybersecurity data to drive analytics for identifying and managing cybersecurity risks; and invest in both technology and personnel to match these modernization goals.” 

The Australia federal government’s cybersecurity strategy really needs to incorporate a Zero Trust architecture. Some the billions of dollars committed to cybersecurity should also be directed towards incorporating Zero Trust in order for the country not to fall behind as a digital economy leader and to support the on-going development of local cyber skills.

Brad Drysdale, Field Chief Technology Officer – APAC, Kong

In 2022, Digital Transformation is no longer a theoretical concept – it’s in full swing across the country’s businesses and government sectors, pushing up the demand for quality, rapid innovation and skilled people to fuel it.

This budget represents a positive step forward in encouraging the deployment of technologies such as cloud and AI but those enterprises that focus on transforming their corporate cultures, as well as their systems and processes, will be best placed to reap maximum benefit from the time and resources they invest in their efforts to emerge stronger from the recent period of turbulence. 

At the same time, the budget investment in supporting STEM development skills will go some way in boosting the nation’s pool of digital talent as well as the reducing the existence of siloed organizations and corporate cultures that may have traditionally been resistant to change. 

Ultimately, successful Digital Transformation takes a whole lot of doing. For it to result in engrained changes across the enterprise, rather than a mere process overhaul, wholesale cultural change is necessary.

Not just in the IT department, where it can be relatively straightforward to effect, but across all operations functions as well. The outcomes look bright. Digital government, digital healthcare, digital learning, digital security and defense and better connected, more customer-oriented businesses, organizations and institutions. The time is ripe to get onboard to learn, upskill, modernize, digitize and help Australia lead the way.

Pieter DeGunst, CEO, Tecala

It’s pleasing to see the government support Australian SMEs to invest in cybersecurity technology. It’s an underfunded area and budget constraints is a key issue that is holding back cyber preparedness for many businesses. In addition, in the midst of the biggest tech resource crunch in our history, the investment into STEM development is a welcome development.

Ashley Diffey, Head of APAC and Japan, Ping Identity

The federal government’s investment in cybersecurity in this budget should be applauded and supports the on-going need to educate organizations about their risk. It will also support the on-going requirement to generate cybersecurity awareness among both employees and management teams for securing their digital businesses.

Today, every business is a digital business.  With heightened risk on Australia’s critical infrastructure resulting from the unpredictable global political environment, strong identity security is more important than ever.

Recently, CrowdStrike, Cloudflare and ourselves here at Ping Identity announced a new Critical Infrastructure Defense Project over in the US to provide cybersecurity services to those industries most vulnerable during this time of heightened risk.

The project aims to enhance defenses against risk and in collaboration with partners in the public sector, will offer businesses a roadmap that enterprises in any sector can use to implement step-by-step security measures to defend themselves from malicious actors.  

This collaboration between government, the private sector and cybersecurity specialists is ultimately what is required here in Australia to ensure that citizens and customers interact confidently with digital services and that businesses have access to leading solutions and world-class expertise to protect their enterprises, employees and associated supply chains.

Vicki Wright, ANZ Regional Director, MetricStream

We support this on-going investment in cybersecurity as a robust security posture can never be a set and forget strategy for either government, business or consumers. Cybersecurity must be a core, central and critical ingredient in any size of business and any budget allocated in support of governance, risk and compliance needs to be proactive, transparent, consistent and ensure that proper protection protocols are established. That goes for both the private and public sector alike!

Sash Vasilevski, Principal, Security Centric

The Federal Government has discussed the increasing threat posed to Australian business and now recognizes that this extends to the SME market. This is an important step towards protecting Australians from cybercrime given the latest Annual Cyberthreat report from the ACSC indicated that losses related to cybercrime had increased for small businesses compared to the previous year, and that medium businesses had the highest average loss per cybercrime report.

With competing priorities for budgets, SMEs will appreciate the additional purchasing power made available by the budget to provide visibility and risk reduction of the cyberthreat.

Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales – APAC, Nintex

The new federal budget provides great opportunity for small businesses to invest in and-more importantly-deploy digital strategy and technology. The tax offsets allow businesses to invest in innovation while also aiding the federal government’s strategy for Digital Transformation and a digital economy.

What balances the push for digital technology and strategy in the budget is the government’s additional tax offset for SMB organizations that invest in training and certification of staff. For the SMB segment, the budget provides a great blend of strategy, implementation and sustained training/skills benefits for our economy.

Rohan Langdon, ANZ Country Manager, ExtraHop

The Federal Government’s budget investment in cybersecurity for both the ASD and cyber-related tax write off for Australian businesses represents a major step forward in keeping cyberthreats as top-of-mind in Australian organisations of all sizes in the years ahead.  

ExtraHop’s recent survey of Australian IT decision makers found that only 43% of those surveyed are completely or very confident in their ability to prevent and mitigate cybersecurity threats. This budget represents a great opportunity for businesses to take an inventory of their current state of affairs and assess what they can do differently to protect their organization.  

A strong cybersecurity posture includes a focus on cyber hunt and response activities as well as ongoing employee education and supply chain risk recognition.   Indeed, as companies develop strategies which take aim at emerging stronger from the pandemic, now is the time to focus on what lies ahead for an organisation to be in a much better position to tackle new challenges as they arise. 

Enterprises ultimately need to review how much risk they are willing to stomach and just like the federal government constantly review whether a greater proportion of IT budget should be allocated to security.

Jason Wyatt, Co-Founder, Marketplacer

We welcome any investment in supporting and improving our clients’ ability to modernize and digitise their business to support innovation.  At the same time, Australian businesses need to ensure they work with a partner which is also investing for the future, and has the winning combination of a technology platform that is going to provide them with the security and scalability to meet their strategic goals as well as great local technical and consulting support.

Mark Fazackerley, Regional Vice President – ANZ, Talend

It is encouraging to see the federal government focus on supporting a budget for STEM development skills.  Australian businesses will continue their mass migration to the cloud in the years, automation across all aspects of business operations will take hold and new skills are going to be required to compete in the global digital economy. 

In order for Australia not to fall behind, we will need a workforce that is capable of applying data analytics in everyday business scenarios and educational curriculums which help to narrow the gap when it comes to data skills among Australian graduates and the ever-increasing requirement for data driven decision making.   

We will need a workforce that learns how to ask the right questions of data, to better inform the decisions they make to address current, real world and applied business requirements.            

Collaboration between government, private sector and educators is essential to up-skill the workforce of today.  We look forward to working with both educators and enterprises to empower more Australians with analytics skills to make rapid, insightful decisions at a time where the demand for data to make informed decisions is exploding.

Fabio Fratucello, Chief Technology Officer APJ, CrowdStrike

The focus on cybersecurity in the Australian Budget is encouraging and absolutely necessary as adversaries continue to become more sophisticated and attack businesses around the world. 

The 2022 CrowdStrike Global Threat Report highlighted an 82% increase in ransomware-related data leaks and how adversaries were moving beyond malware with 62% of recent detections being malware-free. It also identified how nation state actors including from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran were continuing to expand their operations. 

The Australian Budget emphasizes that this risk is being recognised. It’s time for businesses of all sizes to follow suit and ensure their cybersecurity posture is fit to defend against the modern, sophisticated adversary attacks today.

That means moving beyond legacy security solutions such as antivirus and embracing modern capabilities like endpoint detection and response (EDR) as an avenue to extend detection and response (XDR) across the relevant domains of an organization. It also means investing in Zero Trust capabilities to protect identities and credentials. 

The focus on intelligence as part of the AU$9.9 billion committed to bolstering Australia’s cybersecurity is key. To be able to defend against an attack, you have to know the adversary, their tools, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and their objectives. Augmenting autonomous solutions with human threat hunting and threat intelligence is key because machine learning alone is simply not good enough to stop dedicated attackers.  

The drive to create more cybersecurity skills must also be welcomed to fill the skills shortage experienced in this industry. There’s no doubt that with so much focus on cybersecurity, it will move up the corporate agenda among Australian businesses and be seen as the digital version of business risk that it should have been considered for years.

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