South Australia and Queensland Uplifting Cyber Resilience of Defence SMEs with Cynch Cyber Fitness Program


AustCyber’s nodes in South Australia and Queensland with support from The Government of South Australia and Queensland Government, have partnered with Victorian based Cynch to deliver a six-month pilot project to uplift the cyber resilience of small businesses in the defence supply chain.


This initiative seeks to address the cyber security resilience needs for each respective state’s defence supply chain, enabling the economy to continue to thrive through piloting a cyber fitness program with targeted defence SMEs.


Given the large number of small businesses involved in the sector, gaining visibility of the security posture of these businesses is particularly challenging, let alone having the ability to influence areas of improvement in an efficient manner. While this is a challenge for every enterprise across the globe; for those in the Defence industry, the consequences of a supplier falling victim to a cyber attack can have national security implications.


“This pilot demonstrates what Australians can do when they work together,” said Cynch co-founder and CEO, Susie Jones.


“Everyone involved is dedicating their time, expertise and passion to improving the cyber security of the Australian supply chain. The insights we gain will shed light on growing areas of risk and highlight where more support is needed. It’s our absolute pleasure to be partnering with the South Australian and Queensland governments on this initiative. Alongside the Primes, AustCyber and 50 suppliers, we will forge a path to cyber fitness for every Australian defence supplier.”


Consultation with Defence, Defence primes and industry throughout 2020 identified that more practical assistance is required for most SMEs supplying the defence industry to ensure significant uplift in the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Top 4 of the Essential Eight Model, which would have the greatest likelihood of improving their ability to supply to the defence sector, and most importantly securing the nation’s defence supply chain.


Paula Oliver, who manages AustCyber’s South Australian Node said the announcement would have wide ranging benefits.


“With a substantial proportion of businesses in South Australia being SMEs supplying to the defence industry in state and in country, this initiative will help uplift their cyber resilience and capability, while increasing their ability to secure defence contracts and be more competitive in the market.”


Chief Executive of Defence SA, Richard Price saidSouth Australia has a highly skilled and capable SME sector that has a long and proud history of contributing to some of Australia’s most complex defence projects. The South Australian Government is committed to creating a business climate that supports local industry to compete for both prime and global supply chain roles in Defence and security projects. This initiative has the potential to bolster these endeavours, providing our local SMEs with the tools and capability needed to protect them against cyber security risks and ensure they are at the forefront of best practice.”


The project will provide access to a reputable program of quality cyber security training and support intended to result in cyber hygiene uplift, which protects their organisations against the loss of time, money, private information and reputational damage that come with cyber threats, while also helping the businesses meet the required criteria to work with the Defence sector.


“Queensland SMEs play a vital role in Australia’s defence industry and it is critical they understand their cyber security risks” said Brigadier Alison Creagh (Ret’d) AM CSC, Queensland’s Strategic Defence Advisor – Land.


“It’s important we support them to better protect themselves and their customers, improve their resilience and create greater confidence for them as an integral part of the defence supply chain. This pilot has the potential to tick all of these boxes and significantly uplift the cyber fitness of participating Queensland SMEs.”


Analysis of the outcomes at the end of the project is hoped to inform a future expansion of the program for more SMEs throughout Australia, through AustCyber’s national network of cyber security innovation nodes.