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Cybersecurity key to business relief

Encrypting customer data, backing up important documents and taking processes offline.

These are all simple measures that protect Alex Coles’ Naracoorte motel and restaurant business – and any business owner can do the same through the free Business Community Resilience (BCR) Toolkit: Limestone Coast program.

It is one of many small steps to get ready for future disruptions that are outlined through the business resilience program that helps businesses prepare, connect and build resilience.

Click HERE to register.

Co-designed with a local advisory group, the program is open to all small businesses within the City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant, District Council of Robe, Kingston District Council, Naracoorte Lucindale Council, Tatiara District Council and Wattle Range Council.

Resilient Ready CEO and BCR Toolkit Limestone Coast program creator Renae Hanvin said: ``While there are many wonders and benefits to living in our modern society, cybercrime is an ever-present malevolent threat.

``But you don’t have to accept it will happen to you – you can take simple measures to protect yourself.’’

Alex Coles is an example.

She and her team deal with volumes of sensitive information about her customers every day when they book into her 4-star Avenue Inn and well-regarded restaurant in Naracoorte’s quiet, leafy suburbs off the highway.

Keeping that information secure is a priority, especially after several well publicised data breaches suffered by large corporations.

The Avenue Inn has seen an uptick in inquiries about information security, Alex says.

``To be able to confidently say that your data's all encrypted, it does get deleted and it's stored locally with no access whatsoever to the internet gives people a lot more confidence in staying with our establishment.’’

During the Covid pandemic, Alex identified what pieces of information her business really needed to gather from her guests and what needed to be held onto.

``We decided to move a little bit further away from relying solely on the cloud so our operating systems both operate without any internet.’’

Important client information that does need to be kept is backed up in digital and hardcopy format at multiple locations, as well as on the cloud.

Small businesses which take part in the BCR Toolkit: Limestone Coast program will create a personalised business resilience toolkit, hear disaster stories of other small businesspeople in their community and build regional connections with other locals in small business experiencing similar challenges.

Launched on the Limestone Coast in July, the first 10 modules are already available, including the 80/20 Rule, 3 Revenue Streams, Linchpin, Essential Operations and That Word …Risk; and Financial Hardship, Next Door Saviour, Supply Chains, People Communication and Rainy-Day Fund.

The last batch will be released daily between September 11 and 18, including Getting the Right Insurance, Can’t Keep Going, Cybersecurity, Essential Information and Capability Register.

An online workshop will be held on September 28 (register here for 9.30am or 4pm), followed by a community workshop in Naracoorte on October 9 (register here).

The BCR Toolkit: Limestone Coast project is a collaboration between certified social enterprise Resilient Ready, the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia.

Click HERE to register.

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