cyber resilience

Any business can become a victim of a cyber attack. Cybersecurity breaches are on the rise globally, with hackers using sophisticated tools that are constantly evolving. Not only has the number of businesses reporting cyber attacks risen in Australia, so has the severity of the attacks.

Even a single vulnerability can lead to a breach that results in a major loss to a business’s finance, data and brand recognition. So it’s more important than ever for business owners to bolster cyber resilience and have proactive measures in place to reduce the risk.

Here, we’ll take you through what the threats are, 12 strategies to mitigate them and the benefits of an ongoing effort to build cyber resilience.


What is cybersecurity risk mitigation?

Cybersecurity risk mitigation is the process of identifying, assessing, and minimising the likelihood and impact of a successful cyber attack. This includes potential threats and vulnerabilities that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organisation’s information systems and data.

Following a thorough risk assessment, the next step is to develop a strategy which will be paramount to managing cyber incidents and minimising their consequences. Small businesses are just as at risk from cyber security threats as large companies – and are in fact often easier targets, due to budget constraints and heightened vulnerabilities.


Top 5 most common cybersecurity threats

The Federal Government’s technical authority on cyber security is the Australian Signal’s Directorate’s (ASD’s) Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Last year, it received more than 94,000 reports of cybercrime against organisations (FY2022-23) – an increase of 23 per cent. That’s a report of cybercrime averaging every 6 minutes.

Malware and in particular ransomware was the most destructive cybersecurity threat to Australian businesses in 2022-2023, according to the ACSC. This is a deliberately disruptive cybercrime of which small businesses are especially at risk.

Here is a breakdown of the most common cybersecurity breaches:


This is an umbrella term for any malicious software that enables unauthorised access to a user’s systems, whether it’s to steal data or destroy data on computers. Malware can infect computers and networks through various means, including malicious websites, infected email attachments, compromised software, and vulnerabilities in operating systems or applications.


This has become one of the most common and harmful types of malware, designed to ecrypt files so they are unusable then extortion tactics are used. Attackers demand payment, usually hundreds and thousands of dollars in the form of cryptocurrency, in return for decryption keys. It can quickly spread across a network and cause significant damage.


This is the most popular type of social engineering email scam where attackers attempt to trick recipients into clicking on malicious links or attachments, which then install malware. It’s an effective tool for attackers because it’s low-cost, low-effort and highly effective.

Business email compromise (BEC)

A form of email cyber fraud where organisations are tricked into revealing important information or paying money through false invoices to attackers impersonating trusted senders. BEC is a significant threat to businesses in Australia.

Denial of Service (DoS)

Designed to disrupt online services, such as web sites. Cyberciminals for example can direct a large volume of unwanted traffic to consume a victim’s network bandwidth, limiting legitimate users from accessing the site.


12 strategies to mitigate cybersecurity threats

Create a layered defence against cyber threats by combining various strategies to address or mitigate potential risks. Here are some main ones:

Risk analysis

The first step is to understand your own cyber threat landscape and evaluate the impact of these threats on company assets, operations and reputation. By conducting a thorough risk analysis, organisations can make informed decisions about allocating resources, implementing security measures, and prioritising efforts to protect their information systems and data.

Control access

Regulate access and implement the principle of least privilege, ensuring that employees have access only to the resources necessary for their roles. Also limit employees from installing any application without the IT or security administrator’s approval.

Install firewall

A firewall is a threat detection system that forms a barrier between internal and external systems while monitoring network traffic and identifying suspicious activity. Make sure your operating system’s firewall is enabled and prevent staff from disabling it.

Manage passwords

Weak passwords can cause data to be compromised easily, for example when attackers use “password-spray” malware that tries the same common passwords on thousands of accounts at once.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), is a security mechanism that requires individuals to provide two or more authentication factors before gaining access to a system, account, or application. Physical token-based authentication should be used to supplement passwords and PINS for accounts with elevated privileges, remote access or high value assets.

Data encryption

Make sure all sensitive data is encrypted to limit access to parties with the encryption key. Some software also lets you know if other people try to alter or tamper with the information

Regular data backups

Perform daily backups of the most important information and store offsite This has become even more critical in today’s environment of ransomware attacks to mitigate succumbing to ransom demands or suffering prolonged downtime.

Patch management

This is the process to ensure all endpoint devices (smart phones, laptops, PCs), networks and applications have the latest security updates. Apply security patches promptly – in online services and internet-facing devices within 48 hours – to address vulnerabilities.

Employee training

Keep your employees up-to-date with some of the most common ways hackers try to gain access to a database, such as phishing emails, and transform them from being unknowingly complicit to a strong line of defence.

Network security

In addition to firewalls, deploy intrusion detection and prevention systems and secure network architecture to protect against potential security incidents.

Software upgrades

Turn on automatic updates and install other updates as soon as possible to prevent unauthorised access that can lead to data theft, leakage or compromise. Also remember to install anti-virus software on all portable devices and keep them updated too.

Prevent insider threats

These occur in various forms, from internal intentional misuse of system access and confidential information to inadvertent errors like clicking on a phishing email. Adopt ongoing training to build awareness.


Stay clean with cyber hygiene

Protecting your business from cyber threats is crucial. Scams, email attacks and malicious software can cost a lot of time and money. In 2023, the government identified email compromise and business email compromise (BEC) as the top 2 business cybercrimes. To stay ahead of attackers it advises to:

  1. turn on multi-factor authentication for online services where available;
  2. use only reputable cloud service providers and managed service providers that implement cyber security measures;
  3. regularly test cyber security detection and disaster recovery plans;
  4. review the cyber security posture of remote workers – including their use of communication, collaboration and business productivity software;
  5. train staff – especially in how to recognise scams and phishing attempts;
  6. implement relevant strategies from the Essential 8 model (see below);
  7. report cybercrime and cyber security incidents to ReportCyber.


Compliance and regulatory considerations

When instituting cybersecurity strategies, adherence to established mitigation frameworks and controls is crucial. These frameworks encompass recognised standards such as ISO 27001, the ACSC Essential 8, and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. While MSP Blueshift holds certification in ISO 27001, third-party certifications for the ACSC Essential 8 and NIST are not available. Nevertheless, we incorporate mitigation strategies from both frameworks into our solutions to bolster cybersecurity measures effectively.

Essential 8

The ACSC Essential 8 is a comprehensive set of strategies developed by the Australian Government to help organisations mitigate cyber threats and enhance their overall security posture. The intention behind the Essential 8 is to provide a set of practical, achievable, and impactful cybersecurity measures that organisations of all sizes and sectors can implement to protect their critical assets.

The Essential 8 consists of eight mitigation strategies grouped into three categories: preventing malware delivery and execution, limiting the extent of cyber security incidents, and recovering data and system availability. The benefits of implementing the Essential 8 are significant. By following these strategies, organisations can reduce their exposure to cyber threats, enhance their incident response capabilities, and protect their critical assets.


ISO27001 is an international standard produced by the ISO (International Organisation of Standards). It involved more than 100 cyber experts sharing their experience to develop a list of 114 Cyber Protections (controls), and is subsequently a lot more comprehensive.


The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a set of voluntary guidelines, standards, and best practices developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States to help organisations manage and improve their cybersecurity risk management processes. It provides a common language and systematic approach for addressing cybersecurity risk across critical infrastructure sectors and other industries.

The framework is based on five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover, which serve as a foundation for developing and implementing cybersecurity strategies tailored to an organisation’s specific needs and risk profile. The CSF is widely used by organisations as a flexible and customisable framework to enhance their cybersecurity posture and resilience.


Benefits of cybersecurity risk mitigation

There are many benefits of cyber risk mitigation, not least of which is to avoid the grave situation of a massive data breach. Some key benefits of fostering a positive cyber-secure culture include:

  • timely identification and mitigation of cyber risks
  • fewer vulnerabilities
  • better security compliance and industry standards
  • preservation of corporate or brand reputation
  • reduction of potential financial losses.


Secure your digital future today

It’s vital that businesses continue to invest in and build cyber resilience in today’s landscape of heightened malicious activity. To boost cyber security, Australia must consider not only technical controls such as the Essential 8, but also growing a positive cyber-secure culture across business and the community.

Mitigation is essential to tackling cybersecurity risks and offsetting the alternative consequences, which can be devastating. Contact MSP Blueshift today to learn more about how we can help protect your business and secure your digital assets.