​Govt unveils cyber security credentials scheme for Kiwi SMEs

“Small and medium businesses need to take steps to protect their online records..."

New Zealand businesses with good cyber security practices could receive a “cyber security tick”, as part of a suite of initiatives to help protect small businesses against cyber attacks.

The cyber credentials scheme is just one initiative proposed in the Government’s new Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan.

“The rollout of Ultra-Fast Broadband and technological changes are transforming the way businesses operate,” says Amy Adams, Communications Minister.

“It’s opening up new opportunities for New Zealanders to export goods and services around the country and the world.

“But operating online also carries risks. Cyber attacks cost businesses around the world billions in stolen goods and capital, not to mention lost opportunities and productivity.”

In New Zealand, around 95 percent of small businesses use the internet, with 66 percent owning a website and 44 percent using internet sales.

“One of the core actions of the new Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan is to build the capability of small businesses to improve their cyber security,” adds Craig Goss, Small Business Minister.

“Small businesses make an important contribution to New Zealand’s economy - around 27 percent of GDP. We can’t ignore the risks and impacts that cyber threats have on such a big part of the economy.

“Small and medium businesses need to take steps to protect their online records as much as they keep their buildings and physical assets safe.

"It’s critical for the commercial success of small businesses and for the ability of New Zealand to do business online. It’s also important for protecting our national economy against cyber attacks.”

Adams says the cyber credentials scheme proposed for small businesses will mean that businesses with good cyber security practices will have a “cyber security tick” similar to schemes that acknowledge, for example, healthy food choices or energy efficient appliances.

“It will enable small businesses to demonstrate to their customers and business connections that they have put in place the basic cyber security practices,” Adams adds.

The proposal is similar to the UK’s “Cyber Essentials” scheme with the Government adding that, at this stage, the details of the cyber credentials scheme are in development, with small businesses set to be part of the process.

The scheme complements the Connect Smart online questionnaire and SME Cyber Security Toolkit - two initiatives already underway as part of the Connect Smart public-private collaboration to improve cyber security.

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