Priorities in Australia’s IT Sector for the next Government (Part 5)

Michael Bovalino, ANZ Country Manager, LogRhythm

In this, the fifth instalment in our special series on the state of the IT industry in Australia, we speak with Michael Bovalino, ANZ Country Manager, LogRhythm to get his thoughts on “What our next government needs to do to address key IT business challenges currently facing Australia, regardless of which side wins the forthcoming federal election.”

What steps need to be taken to shore up the cyber defences of Australian government departments and agencies?

I would recommend the following five-step action plan.

  • Setting up a register of information in relation to critical infrastructure assets across Australian government departments and agencies
  • Requiring entities to have, and comply with, critical infrastructure risk management programs similar to sectors in the private sector such as utilities that run and operate SCADA critical infrastructure environments.
  • A collaborative approach to notification and knowledge sharing of cyber security incidents/threats.
  • A bipartisan approach from all sides of government/politics to develop and fast track a unified and agreed stance against potential and ongoing cyber threats to our government agencies and departments.
  • Establishing a regime and or taskforce as a culmination of security like-minded professionals in government to outline a framework or defined group of best practices that ensure Australia’s cyber defences are understood and supported across Australian government departments and agencies

Does more need to be done to improve the cybersecurity measures in place within Australia’s private sector?

Cybersecurity still remains the most fundamental area of concern that many organisations across Australia still take for granted despite the growing need for more connectivity for IoT, smartphones, social media and eCommerce.

For individuals and companies, it’s critical because personal data must be protected.  If a third-party gains access to data that should be confidential, then the company can be liable.

In my view, the federal government needs to put forward measures to help and guide organisations by:

  • Assisting organisations in implementing cyber security measures and best practices
  • Sharing cyberthreat information
  • Increasing the monitoring of the dark web with a government-funded taskforce
  • Advising businesses on recommended and or proper cyber security measures
  • Publicising and raising awareness around the need to adopt or align to appropriate cyber security attack and compliance frameworks.

Do there need to be any further tech-focused tax breaks introduced to ease conditions for Australian businesses?

Yes,  this measure can be introduced with once-off CAPEX payments or tax relief for organisations investing in people or transformation/improvement tech programs of work.

Israel and Estonia are often cited as examples of smaller countries that have nurtured a thriving start-up IT sector. What does Australia need to do to join this list?

In counties such as Israel and Estonia, it’s the past and present governments of the day that have led the charge in identifying and setting up the platform for people to develop the necessary skills and knowledge.   In their early educational years the right programs of work have been put in place to get their minds thinking laterally and creatively along with providing a platform to challenge the mind to strive for excellence and outcomes.

More is needed from a funding perspective from our government to invest in and develop centres of excellence across our primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions to identify the next wave of thought leaders and entrepreneurs.

Modern business depends heavily on the internet. Should the next government ramp up investment in broadband technologies?

Organisations around the world are investing heavily to take advantage of the significant economic and social opportunities that a digital economy can bring.

Australian business’s ongoing success depends on our ability to harness technological advances to improve, create new products and markets, and enhance our everyday life as citizens.  Recent reports estimate that improvements to existing industries and growth of new ones could be worth $300 billion to the Australian economy over the next decade.

A key fundamental to advancing and improving the Australian business landscape is the continuous improvement and advancement of digital assets by continuing to build broadband and fibre optic infrastructure and providing secure access to high-quality data and services.

Our government of the day can definitely do better by investing heavily and delivering high-grade digital services and assets by building infrastructure and providing secure access to high-quality data and internet to all businesses across Australia.