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The government has launched a ‘go-to’ guide for small businesses on how to improve their security practices to help them win Defence work.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price today launched the Working Securely with Defence guide alongside Australian Industry Group national president Chris Jenkins.

According to Defence, about 40 per cent of businesses that apply to win Defence work have insufficient cyber security measures to meet Defence’s standards. The guide will help industry overcome those issues to become ‘Defence-ready’.

It was jointly developed by Defence, AiGroup, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) over the past 12 months.

“The development of this guide has been a genuine team effort, drawing on deep expertise and connections across government, Defence, Australian defence industry and industry associations,” Minister Price said. “It has been developed by industry for industry and will help businesses understand what they need to do to improve their security practices.

“The guide also provides direction and support to current and prospective defence industry and supply chain providers on how to understand their security obligations and improve their security practices when delivering Defence capability.”

The percentage of businesses missing out on Defence work due to insufficient security measures has already prompted Defence to focus on providing support to applicants to improve their cyber security.

Over the past year Defence says it has helped more than 600 companies improve their security through the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP). The DISP supports Australian businesses to understand and meet their security obligations when engaging in Defence projects, contracts and tenders.

Defence currently has more than 230 companies in the program.

The guide comes as the government looks to spend up to $15 billion to cyber and information warfare capabilities over the coming decade. About $1.35 billion will be spent combating malicious cyber activity, including $31 million to enhance the ability of ASD to disrupt cybercrime offshore and $35 million to deliver an enhanced cyber threat-sharing platform.

Another $12 million will go towards new strategic mitigations and active disruption options, and $118 million will be spent expanding ASD’s data science and intelligence capabilities.

Minister Price said the Working Securely with Defence guide complements her ‘five pillars’ approach to supporting Australian businesses by improving the way Defence communicates and does business with industry in relation to its security obligations.

“I am making sure Defence works with our industry partners, especially when it comes to cyber security, so that businesses can be ready and more experienced as we come back from COVID-19,” Minister Price said.

Australian Industry Group national president Chris Jenkins said Ai Group was very pleased to have partnered with the Government and Defence to develop the guide.

“The guide brings together a wealth of relevant information to assist the Defence industry and help build the security culture, compliance and resilience of the sector,” Jenkins said. “This is so important to the strategic priorities of Australia, ensuring that both industry and Defence are working on the same page."

The Working Securely with Defence guide can be accessed here.

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