The federal government will provide grants of up to $2,100 to small businesses that want to test their cyber security.

Small businesses have been told to treat cyber security as seriously as they treat the physical security of their premises, property and staff.

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell told the 2017 Security Exhibition and Conference that cyber crime is here to stay, so small businesses need to be prepared.

“The lack of awareness regarding cyber security is one of the biggest threats facing small business operators today,” she said.

“What’s changed over the centuries isn’t the act of crime, but how it’s committed. A burglar is just as likely to break into a computer system today as through a smashed window.

“Just about every business with a physical shopfront has an alarm and takes security precautions, but not every business is aware of cyber security, and many are sadly at risk of attack.”

Ms Carnell said the federal government will provide grants of up to $2,100 to small businesses that want to have their cyber security tested by approved service providers.

“Cyber crime is going to become more sophisticated and more disruptive. Small businesses need to be vigilant and take sensible precautions,” she said.