NAB, CrowdStrike partner to strengthen cybersecurity for SMEs

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Source: Unsplash/ Dan Nelson

With one cybercrime reported every six minutes in Australia, cybersecurity has been declared an urgent national problem by the Australian government, as the country’s small and medium businesses emerge as one of the sectors least prepared to defend themselves against a cyber attack according to National Australia Bank research.

In a bid to help its small business customers tackle ransomware, data breaches and cyber threats and protect themselves in the long run, NAB announced on Wednesday that it was teaming up with global cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

The partnership will see eligible NAB small business customers receive free cybersecurity protection for 12 months through a year subscription to CrowdStrike ‘Falcon Go’. NAB will cover the $450 annual cost of the cybersecurity software product for one year.

Last year, NAB research confirmed that as well as Australian small and medium businesses being one of the least prepared sectors to protect themselves against cyber attacks, only 15% of SMEs conduct extensive training when it comes to scams and cybersecurity risks and four in 10 had “not much training at all”.

The partnership announcement comes as the Australian government also continues to strengthen cybersecurity across the country by confirming in its 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, which was released in November 2023, that it would be building six ‘cyber shields’ to defend Australians and businesses from threats.

In January this year, NAB announced it had partnered with Microsoft to provide Australian small businesses with a free cyber assessment tool, which asked businesses questions pertaining to their security, data and IT environment.

With small business customers able to apply for the offer on the NAB app, Internet Banking, or through their banker, SmartCompany naturally went digging into the terms and conditions to find out more about the eligibility criteria.

The offer is exclusive to NAB small business owners with a Business Transaction Account who take up the offer before March 31, 2026 and do not already have a CrowdStrike account.

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Customers receive 12 months of free access to the security software, with a maximum of 150 free licences per business customer, and the CrowdStrike offer is limited to the first 11,000 devices registered by eligible NAB customers. On the same subject : Major Australian ports shut after ‘cyber security incident’.

NAB chief security officer Sandro Bucchianeri said as the number of cyber attacks increase, more needs to be done to help protect small and medium-sized businesses.

“The number of cyber attacks continues to grow year-on-year, and it’s worrying that small and medium businesses – which make up 97% of all Australian businesses – are one of the least cyber-prepared sectors,” Bucchianeri said.

“As Australia’s leading business bank, we have a key role to play in helping educate and assist small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they remain secure. That’s why NAB is doing what it can to help lift the cybersecurity resilience of our customers.

“It can take businesses years to recover from a cyber attack due to their cost and complexity. By working with CrowdStrike, we are looking to connect and educate businesses, so they can help stop attacks before they stop business.”

Ransomware alone causes up to $3 billion in damages to the Australian economy every year according to the Australian Signals Directorate ASD Cyber Threat Report 2022 – 2023, which also found that the top cybercrime types for business are email compromise, business email compromise (BEC) fraud and online banking fraud.

The report also revealed that the average cost of cybercrime for small businesses was $46,000 and $97,200 for medium businesses, with $71,600 for large businesses.

Small and medium businesses across Australia don’t just experience financial costs when it comes to cybercrime, with the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC)’s Cybercrime in Australia 2023 report confirming that cybercrime remains significantly underreported in Australia and that business had been left affected by personal health and legal issues.

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