New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in enforcing good practice cyber security strategies, says PwC national cyber partner Adrian van Hest.
Government strategies alone were not enough to protect businesses from potential cyber-attacks if no action was undertaken, van Hest said.
Six per cent of New Zealand firms have experienced a cyber-attack at least once a year, and the number of security breaches is on the rise.
"I think the challenge is we don't have a lot of data on New Zealand [cyber-attacks] so there is a perception - and it is just that - that we have had less incidents so there are less risks," which is not the case, said van Hest, who is a panelist in the upcoming PwC Herald Talks.
Cyber security attacks appeared to be less prominent in New Zealand because they were often below the radar.
Unlike in other countries victims in New Zealand did not have to disclose cyber crime.
"If somebody loses all their personal records, sells them on or does anything that goes against the Privacy Act, you legally don't have to tell anyone which is completely contrary to the US, Europe and Canada."
The biggest challenge the country faced was that cyber security strategies aimed to encourage behaviour rather than enforce action.
"Small businesses, universally, are challenged by giving it [cyber security] the thought and the investment it would require to be secure, while bigger businesses probably have the motivation to do it but, to be honest, in New Zealand, the evidence bears out that we are sort of behind in adopting a lot of the technology and best practice strategies that the rest of the world would do."
Kiwi businesses were at risk of similar cyber-attacks to those seen overseas.
"Most of the reason the rest of the world invests more [in cyber security] is because like most human beings we learn from experience. Internationally there have been a lot more incidents and they have been quite hurtful," he said. "I would be surprised if New Zealand doesn't learn the same way."
PwC Herald Talks
Speakers: Keynote speaker is Garry Barnes, from ISACA.
Others include Adrian van Hest, Amy Adams, Barbara Chapman and Michael Brick.
Where and when: SkyCity Theatre, 7am, February 24.
Tickets: $89 from iTicket.co.nz