Cyber-attacks: not an ‘emerging risk’, but a fact of life says Whitbread chief

RISKS and potential losses from cyber attacks are woefully underestimated by Australian organisations of all sizes, according to Whitbread Insurance Brokers CEO Stephen Jones.

“I am continually baffled by figures published in cyber security reports, that scarcely 2 percent of large organisations hold specialised cyber insurance,” Mr Jones said. 

“More alarming, is that this figure diminishes close to zero for small businesses,” he said, basing his views on the latest research by the British Government in 2015.

Just as alarming, closer to home, has been the recent analysis from the Australian Cyber Security Centre into the growth of cyber threats.

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre released its first public report this year exposing just how rampant and dangerous cyber crime is for Australian businesses,” Mr Jones said. “It revealed a 20 percent increase in cyber crime over the last 12 months, ranking Australia as ‘one of the most hacked countries worldwide’.”

When costs of these attacks are analysed, the need for urgent action becomes apparent, he said.

Mr Jones said with the global average cost of a cyber attack reaching $6 million, outstripping the annual revenues of most SMEs – according to Juniper Research – it put the real risks into perspective.

“If your business is connected online, cyber insurance must form a central part of your crisis management plan,” Mr Jones said.

“Regardless of how ‘impenetrable’ your company IT systems appear, I am yet to meet a business that can 100 percent guarantee their data is protected.  A data breach will not only affect your business, it can have a serious impact on your clients and customers.

“Misplaced iPads or iPhones, stolen credit card numbers, financial reports, medical records, and the loss of sensitive personal data can leave you unable to operate and held liable – at both a company and individual level – potentially exposing your bottom line to significant damage and a tarnished reputation.”

Mr Jones said there were benefits to businesses taking on cyber insurance that were often overlooked.

He said apart from the obvious financial compensation to recoup costs incurred from a security breach – including regulatory fines of up to $1.7 million – there was also cover for legal representation and costs that incorporate forensic and legal counsel.

Furthermore, cyber insurance provided for “compensation for clients or customers who suffer financially or emotionally as a result of stolen data”.

Mr Jones said there was also cover for “professional consultants to assist in repairing damage to your brand reputation”.

“Unfortunately, cyber threats will continue to escalate as cyber criminals develop increasingly sophisticated techniques, and businesses become progressively dependent on linked services and devices,” Mr Jones said.

“It is expected that the average cost of a data breach will exceed $150 million by 2020 as businesses increase connectivity, exposing themselves to data breaches and hacks (Juniper Research, 2015).

“You may not be able to control the actions of cyber criminals, but you can take control by insuring your organisation against the risk,” Mr Jones said.

Whitbread is a Victorian Leaders Industry Expert partner.


Magic Mobility: developing wheelchairs for a world that is not flat

FROM DRIVING through the soft sands of Australia’s beautiful beaches, climbing the many rugged mountain ranges, to dominating the nation’s muddy farmyards, Magic Mobility has enabled its clients to experience the freedom and adventure that comes with a go-anywhere wheelchair since 1994.


In the process, the company is re-defining wheelchair mobility for new generations and improving lives. 

Magic Mobility’s story started in 1987 when Ashley Daff, fresh from studying prosthetics at university, secured an assembly role at Sibbing Mobility in suburban Melbourne.

Within six months of his arrival, Mr Daff was the go-to man for all of Sibbing’s highly-customised wheelchair solutions.

Over the years, Mr Daff developed strong relationships within the disabled community and was known for his deep understanding of the human body and his exceptional level of mechanical nous. When the future of Sibbing was looking doubtful, Mr Daff took the leap of faith and founded Magic Mobility.

From its inception, Magic Mobility soon made a name for itself developing customised wheelchairs empowering end-users and enabling them to go places where standard wheelchairs could not take them.

The customisation is an essential offering that enables people to live the way they choose. Magic was determined to push the boundaries of what power chairs could achieve by being resolutely driven by the unmet needs of their users

From its origins of designing and building manual wheelchairs, Magic soon moved in to powered chairs. Noticing the unfulfilled need for outdoor experiences, Mr Daff starting developing highly mobile wheelchair bases that were capable of climbing gutters and taking on rough and unpredictable terrain.

A series of successful wheelchair designs culminated in the development of the Extreme 4x4.

The Extreme 4x4 was a pioneering world leader in outdoor mobility, shattering any preconceptions that people with disabilities couldn’t enjoy the most rugged of terrain.

With a powerful motor driving each of the four wheels, the Extreme could take users to places that had never seemed possible before. The world took notice and wheelchair users from around the globe started demanding a Magic Mobility powered wheelchair.

Magic began exporting their boundary-pushing wheelchairs to all corners of the globe including the US, UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Complementing their Extreme wheelchair, Magic Mobility had developed a world-class range of wheelchair solutions designed to provide highest level of independence for their diverse customer base.

These wheelchairs have become class leaders in providing solutions ranging from driving in the tightest of spaces, being collapsible to fit in the back of a station wagon, or to providing users who can only move their head the ability to drive a wheelchair and achieve a level of independence unheard of previously.

As Magic Mobility reached its second decade of operations, and steady growth, it became clear that the opportunities to innovate and grow were greater than ever.

“After 20 successful years of somewhat organic growth, Magic engaged external design thinking consultants to help us identify what makes our business unique and successful,” Mr Daff said. “We developed a plan for growth into the future.”

Magic Mobility’s management and staff embarked on a journey of discovery and a realisation about where the company could go.

“After a lot of well-targeted questions from the consultants, we brought to life what Magic Mobility does with our cause: Enabling wheelchair users and their families to experience a world that is not flat,” Mr Daff said.

We endeavoured to distil our principles down to a distinct set of values: EmpathicMaverick, and Driven to go further.

“Magic Mobility’s cause and values have become an invaluable tool in decision-making throughout the business,” he said of how planning is conducted today.

“Previously, decisions were made based on the experience and intuition of the individual. We now have a strong set of principles for all departments to refer to for regular day-to-day decisions and long-term strategic outcomes.”

The potential of Magic Mobility was reinforced after a recent study mission to Denmark to visit world leading design businesses.

“The standout lesson was that each business had a clear, motivating purpose and vision along with a distinct set of values which help define their journey,” Mr Daff said.

“Ensuring all employees act with this philosophy in mind is a challenge; but having an inspirational purpose and set of values has given us a clear framework for future business growth.”

To drive this potential even further, Magic, Mobility has joined Victorian Leaders this year as an Executive Member.






How are the Victorian Leaders thinking?

SOME interesting perspectives on how business leaders currently view their environments have come out of an ongoing Victorian Leaders survey.

In response to the question, ‘where do you most often associate the presence of a coach’ most responded “sport”, but almost 25 percent equated coaching with business. None mentioned the term in relation to personal, relationship, health or spiritual coaching. 

On the question of people at their companies being engaged, most business leaders felt there was a mix of motivated people and some less so, but there was also a sense of some staff  “driving the energy down”.

However not far behind that mark, at about 35 percent less, was the response “I sense they are mostly highly engaged and motivated”. About 15 percent of business leaders felt some staff were motivated but most were just doing enough to get through the day. 

There was an interesting mix of responses on what elements affecting business had the biggest impact on commercial return on investment. Strongest factor was said to be a clearly-defined culture, values and behaviours, while no-one voted for ‘a world-class CRM and marketing plan’.

Next most popular was a clearly defined purpose for the organisation and also polling strongly was ‘clearly defined roles and responsibilities’. 

The theme of engaging and motivating people came up strongest again in response to the question ‘business would be easy if only …’.

Top of mind was getting people “on board and doing what needs to get done”. Next was again a focus on making people clear on the reason the business exists and what it is striving for. A final small vote went to making people “clear on the strategies and plans for the next 12-18 months”.


RSM Bird Cameron eyes government’s Australian innovation strategy

AUSTRALIA’s business innovators have been “very interested” in the suggestions and comments from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and government ministers, according to research by RSM Bird Cameron.

RSM Bird Cameron director Stephen Carroll said the latest discussion regarding an innovation strategy for Australia and the development of crowd funding are more indicators that the government understands the needs of the innovation community and the gaps that should be filled.

“The only concern is that the government ensures its innovation support is broad-based and does not try and pick winning industries,” Mr Carroll said. “Many of the comments are based on the technology industry but all industries and technologies should be embraced and supported with a comprehensive innovation strategy.”  

Mr Carroll said developing a suite of government programs and support mechanisms around the very successful research and development (R&D) tax incentive is what the innovation community has been seeking for many years.

For Australia to get maximum economic benefits from innovation opportunities, support is required from start-up all the way through to commercialisation.

“At the start-up end, the comments regarding crowd funding and angel investor capital gains relief are very good,” Mr Carroll said. “By providing the market with some small benefits and the mechanics to allow them to invest capital, the government is facilitating business to make commercial decisions to help support projects that they believe are most viable.

“This should assist with the collaboration needed between business and universities to help with spin offs and better commercialisation returns.  What would also assist this would be a slight increase in the R&D tax incentive when companies engage with universities for R&D.”

During the innovation developments stages of a project R&D tax and grant programs have worked well and are in the most part applied successfully. However, there has been no significant analysis, particularly of the R&D tax program, for many years.

Stephen Carroll said, “There is often an argument about the cost to Australia of R&D tax, with little or no economic analysis. For instance, R&D tax in a private business is fundamentally not a cost to Treasury as the tax benefit results in a reduction to its franking account. It is therefore a cost to the shareholders.

“RSM Bird Cameron strongly encourages the government to truly assess and share the results of the cost and benefit of the R&D tax incentive and ensure that future Australian federal budgets appropriately account for it.”


Education and skills development is recognised as critical for successful innovation, Mr Carroll said.

He said a broad range of government and private based programs were available across Australia and these were helping build knowledge and networks required for long term innovation success.

“An Australian innovation strategy that pulls these together in some way to help sharing and collaboration, and potentially funding the more successful versions, would be very beneficial,” Mr Carroll said.

“At the commercialisation end of the process, the Australian taxation system must be fully assessed with an international consideration to determine what commercial tax levers the government needs to change or develop.

“The patent box program is one of these that other countries are now adopting and Australia should ensure that it is being assessed during a tax review process.”

RSM Bird Cameron Melbourne is an Industry Expert member of Victorian Leaders, the organisation helping to foster the next generation of leading Victorian companies.


Business mobility: from sheds to skyscrapers

WHAT started as a simple idea between two friends for a retail online store, selling mobile phone handsets and accessories, with stock kept in a family's backyard shed, is now underpinning growth into new business areas – including high-rise property development. 

Mobile HQ may now be Australia’s leading wholesale supplier of mobile device spare parts, accessories and repair tools, but the business has certainly come a long way from its germination through a chance meeting between entrepreneurs Mark Winslade and Luke Hindson.

Right from their first introduction through a mutual friend, Winslade and Hindson knew they had similar goals and ambitions for making money and future business success. They were aged, respectively, just 20 and 21 when they set of on the entrepreneurship path together. 

With Mr Winslade working full time, and Mr Hindson working and studying, all ‘spare’ hours were used to improve and run Mobile HQ. What they described as a “lightbulb moment” after a few months forced the two to change the direction of their business – they dropped the handset sales to purely focus on a niche in wholesale distribution of mobile device components.

While the company’s first official office was, indeed, Mark’s parents’ shed, with the family dog by their side, the business grew month on month, and demand constantly outstripped supply.

It only took eight months for them to outgrow the shed and to move to a factory, based in their local town of Mornington, Victoria. Today, just seven years later, the business is located in a modern facility in Carrum Downs, and employs 18 staff.

Due to strategic succession plans, Mobile HQ is now run under management and Mr Winslade and Mr Hindson are focusing on other ventures through their investment arm, StartX Capital. 

The latest addition to the StartX Capital portfolio is Estate Baron, an online crowdfunding investment platform which allows any person to make investments in residential or commercial developments, with a minimum investment starting at $2,500.

Estate Baron is currently raising capital for its first development in Frankston, Victoria and expects to have the platform live in the coming months.

Mr Winslade and Mr Hindson said they were confident it would only be a matter of time before they could help to fund skyscrapers using the Estate Baron platform.

Mobile HQ is an Executive Member of Victorian Leaders.

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Aria 'sings' to young entrepreneur's well-crafted tune

ENTREPRENEURSHIP seems built in to Victorian business leader Christina Salvo’s DNA.

Her latest venture, as chief executive officer of Aria serviced apartments in Melbourne’s Crown precinct, is taking her passion for business to new levels and she is revelling in being able to extend and develop new national and international client markets. 

“My latest venture as CEO of Aria serviced apartments combines my 18 plus years in the hospitality, retail, property and customer service sectors,” Ms Salvo said.

“Owning Aria serviced apartments in Melbourne’s Crown precinct gives me the passage to implement a business model for a niche area of the serviced apartment market which is the fastest growing market in the property sector.”

Ms Salvo understood that to build and extend the apartments’ loyal following, it had to offer a more personalised and comfortable experience than the variety of hotels in the precinct presented – so she set about making Aria a very recognisable Melbourne experience through an astute mix of personalised guest services and operational technologies.

“Aria is acontemporary boutique style of accommodation in the heart of Melbourne offering true local experiences to ensure every guest’s stay memorable,” Ms Salvo summed up the experience that she and her hand-picked team developed. 

“We aim to unearth and share our local secrets for travellers who are staying a few nights to months at a time.”

Ms Salvo drew from her versatile business background – including her business travel experiences – to develop Aria’s ‘personality’.

“Throughout my career from Europcar, Calma Medispa to Salvo Property Group, it is embracing new innovative ideas and ways of doing things differently that has made the difference in gaining the competitive edge,” she said.

Day to day, Christina Salvo also draws on the work ethic and team development methods she has imbibed from her family, watching how they developed successful businesses throughout her formative years.

“An entrepreneurial drive is in my DNA,” Ms Salco said. “I have grown up with a family of very passionate hard working people.

“Determination, resilience, vision, planning and the ability to back yourself are the pillars of my career to date.

“And behind every successful business person there is a support team and without them my vision is not possible. I believe in developing a strong culture and creating a work place that people want to be part of and love what they do.”

The innovative service approaches and quality accommodation experiences that Ms Salvo and her team have developed at Aria are already paying off.

“Aria is growing, with plans to expand the model nationally in the near future,” she said. “I have prepared for growth by investing in the latest technology, systems and best business practices to ensure we have the foundation to expand into a truly national company.”

But Christina Salvo is not getting ahead of herself, tailoring her ambitions for realistic market development and growth that can take advantage of any opportunities which may come up – maintaining her entrepreneurial vision.

“Embracing technology and systems to adapt to today’s global marketplace – I am confident Aria will one day be the leading name in serviced hotel style apartments,” Ms Salvo said.

Aria Serviced Apartments is an Executive Member of Victorian Leaders, the organisation fostering and mentoring the next generation of leading Victorian companies.


Prostate cancer research gets boost from Vic Leaders

AUSTRALIAN Prostate Cancer Research centre has joined Victorian Leaders as an Industry Partner to both extend the word about the personal and economic challenges of the disease and to help innovate its own business.

Located in North Melbourne Victoria, the APCR Prostate Cancer Centre opened in November 2014 with a unique set of credentials and a new approach to men’s health. 

APCR partnership manager, Kate Hatton said the centre is now the first bulk-billing public healthcare centre dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of prostate cancer and men’s health issues.

“Prostate cancer remains the second most common cancer causing death in Australia, a statistic that’s the driving force behind Australian Prostate Cancer Research as we research and develop better treatments and models of care to support Australian men and their families,” Ms Hatton said.

“It was developed as a blueprint model of care for patients in the public healthcare system.  Our unique one-stop-shop model of care provides integrated, multidisciplinary and long term support for all men.

“For our patients this means efficient service, reduced waiting times, quicker diagnosis and no multiple appointments at different centres. The Men’s Centre allows patients to access our team of doctors, specialists, specialist nurses all in one place.”

Ms Hatton said through APCR’s partnership with Victorian Leaders, its members can now access free comprehensive health checks for all males staff. APCR is also encouraging Victorian Leaders businesses to collaborate and extend the reach of the service.

“It is an opportunity to align your business with a new area of health care for Australian men,” Ms Hatton told a recent Victorian Leaders meeting.

“We hope we can help you to build a healthy, happy and loyal workforce through our support of your staff.

“We recommend that all men over 40 years old have a baseline prostate test and general health check and men over 50 years to have their PSA levels checked annually.”


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