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CSIRO launches cyber security program for SMEs

cyber security

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is helping to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks facing Australian manufacturing by providing free research and development support to businesses working in the cyber security sector.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) working on new cyber security solutions can join the free, 10-week online Innovate to Grow program, offered by CSIRO, to support their commercial idea with research and development expertise.

Upon completion of the program, participants will be able to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to the connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

CSIRO’s SME Collaboration Lead Dr George Feast said the COVID-19 pandemic had led to an increased risk of cyber security attacks.

“Just like many other parts of the world, Australia’s dependence on the internet saw a big increase during the pandemic, with many services moving online and more people working from home than ever before,” Dr Feast said.

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, there was an annual increase of 13 per cent of cybercrime reports in the 2020-21 financial year.

“To stay ahead of these cyber attacks, new solutions are required, and much of this is driven by SMEs developing new products and services through R&D,” he added.

“SMEs make up 99.8 per cent of all businesses in Australia. However, R&D can be an expensive undertaking for businesses and risky for those without the right guidance and support.”

The program extends beyond cyber security companies into a range of other industries that offer online solutions to their customers – such as agriculture and health – and want to improve the cyber security aspect of their offering.

“Participants will be given help to refine a new idea they want to explore and to better understand their idea’s business and scientific viability. They will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts, and work with an R&D mentor. Companies will also tap into CSIRO’s own cyber security expertise through Data61, CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm ,” Dr Feast said.

“Even though collaboration is key in driving good R&D outcomes, research we released last year found that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions for their innovation activities – our goal through this program is to up that percentage.”

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security program, commences 26 July and is available for 20-25 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Applications close 11 July:  Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security.

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