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Retail sector the ‘least confident’ in ability to prevent cyber attacks

Node4’s Mid-Market IT Priorities Report 2024 has revealed the top ten mid-market cyber security threats for the next 12 months, as set out by the sector’s IT decision-makers. Top of the list is insider threat, followed by AI-related threats, ransomware, deep fakes and malware. The second half includes DoS attacks, supply chain attacks, phishing, zero-day attacks and scams/fraud.  

Paul Bryce, Managing Director at Node4, said: “The high level of concern around insider threats could be attributed to the large number of job transitions and redundancies over the past 12 months, coupled with the growing reliance on contractors to address IT and cyber security skills gaps. It might also be linked to long-term, security-related worries, flexible working and the increased potential for cyber attacks on a distributed workforce.” 

Node4’s new research also points to significant adoption of pre-crime and preventative cyber security measures, with around 40% of respondents stating they currently have dark web intelligence and incident response capabilities — suggesting a growing level of maturity in cyber security policy adoption across the mid-market.  

Perhaps linked to the above findings, the report reveals a high degree of optimism surrounding cyber security defence capabilities. Over three-quarters of IT decision-makers said they were confident in their organisation’s ability to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks, despite the research being conducted at a time of increased cyber security attacks aimed squarely at small and mid-sized organisations. Breaking down these results by vertical sector, IT decision-makers working in private healthcare were the most confident, while those in retail were least so.  

It is worth sounding a note of caution here. Over a quarter of respondents told us they believe AI could expose their organisation to new cyber security risks in the future, and that dealing with AI-related threats is their top priority for the next 12 months. Further, around one-third of compliance challenges identified by respondents in this research are directly linked to IT security and cyber security risk mitigation — pointing to the ongoing complex issues at play in ensuring secureremote access to corporate data. Taken together, these findings indicate now is not the time for complacency, and the mid-market’s IT decision-makers need to double down on their proactive, vigilant cyber security stance.   

Less than 15% of mid-market IT decision-makers manage cyber security defences with internal staff, while over a third outsource to managed service providers. Meanwhile, the majority rely on a combination of in-house resources and their MSP. This could explain why nearly a quarter of respondents said the need to enhance data security and compliance was driving their digital transformation efforts.  

Bryce concluded: “Our findings show that many mid-market organisations are working hard to implement more mature and effective cyber security measures, which is encouraging given that the combined impact of lower budgets, fewer resourcesand a shortage of in-house skills could easily hamper these efforts. However, around a quarter of respondents stated that a lack of suitable services from cloud providers, primary tech partners and MSPs was aprincipal barrier to doing so. This suggests the mid-market relies increasingly on third-party support to do the heavy lifting for its cyber security strategy implementations — and will lean on it to an even greater degree as cybercriminal threats become even more complex, harder to spot and difficult to repel.” 

To download a full copy of the report, please visit 

Alternative payments fuelling Australian e-commerce

E-commerce sales in Australia registered sustained growth over the last few years supported by availability of secure online payment tools, increasing number of online shoppers, and proliferation of online merchants and payment tools.

Against this backdrop, alternative payment methods such as mobile and digital wallets are set to account for 34.1% of the payments made on the online shopping platforms in 2023, according to GlobalData.

An analysis of GlobalData’s E-Commerce Analytics reveals that Australian e-commerce market is expected to register a 10.3% growth in 2023 to reach AUD74.9 billion ($51.0 billion), as consumers are increasingly shifting from offline to online purchases. The market is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% between 2023 and 2027 to reach AUD99.8 billion ($68.0 billion) in 2027.

Shivani Gupta, Senior Analyst Banking and Payments at GlobalData, said: “The popularity of online shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Afterpay Day has also driven e-commerce growth in the country. E-commerce payments in Australia are dominated by payment cards, accounting for a 50.6% share in e-commerce payment value in 2023. Of this, credit and charge cards account for 29.2% share while debit cards account for 20.9%, according to the GlobalData’s 2023 Financial Services Consumer Survey.”

Consumers prefer credit and charge cards due to the value-added benefits they offer including interest free instalment payment options, reward programs, cashback, and discounts.

Gupta added: “Payment cards are followed by alternative payment tools, which collectively account for a 34.1% share in 2023. Alternative payments are increasingly preferred by Australians with some of the popular brands being PayPal and Apple Pay.”

The growth of alternative payments has also been driven by the rising popularity of buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions. Some of the prominent BNPL brands in Australia are Afterpay, Zip, and Klarna.

In a bid to boost usage, Afterpay conducts a four-day bi-annual shopping event dubbed Afterpay Day in Australia. The latest event was held during March 2023, offering up to 70% discounts at brands including THE ICONIC, ASOS, Myer, Wild Secrets, and Sephora.

Gupta concluded “The growing popularity of alternative payment solutions, especially among younger generation, is expected to further accelerate the shift away from cards and these alternative payments are therefore all set to challenge the dominance of payment cards over the next five years.”

GlobalData’s 2023 Financial Services Consumer Survey was carried out in Q2 2023. Approximately 50,000 respondents aged 18+ were surveyed across 40 countries.

Image by Simon from Pixabay