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“The clock is ticking”: Ombudsman urges small businesses to protect their online identity

- September 14, 2022 3 MIN READ
shorter .au domain name

The Albanese Government has committed to delivering tax breaks to help small business grow, writes Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson. Plus, there’s also only one week left for small and family businesses to secure their shortened .au domain name and avoid their online identity being sold to someone else.

Government moves to deliver tax breaks

The Albanese Government has committed to delivering tax breaks that will help small businesses have greater support, incentives and skills to grow.

The measures first announced in the March budget will see small businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million given a bonus 20 per cent deduction for expenses and depreciating assets associated with the uptake of digital technology. Plus an extra 20 per cent deduction for the cost of external training courses for employees by providers registered in Australia.

This will mean small businesses will get a $120 tax deduction for $100 spent on digital uptake and upskilling staff.

Locking in these tax breaks will ensure small business and family businesses are digitally enabled and resilient. It ensures they have the support, incentives, skills and training needed to be truly competitive and to grow.

Deeper digital engagement has been the saviour for many small and family businesses throughout the pandemic. So assistance to build their digital capacity is an important investment in their future.

The digital tax break will allow them to invest in items such as cyber security systems, cloud-based services, accounting or eInvoicing software, hardware such as laptops and portable payment devices.

For a small business, the cost of training staff can be quite significant, and this deduction will support owners to make an investment in upskilling staff to drive productivity and competitiveness.

Bruce Billson, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Bruce Billson, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Don’t get caught short with the new shortened .au domain name

There’s only one week left for small and family businesses to take action to avoid their internet identity being sold to someone else.

It is critical to act now to make sure you are not caught short by the introduction of the shortened .au domain name.

Unfortunately, hardly any small businesses I’ve met are aware this big change is taking place. The awareness campaign by the non-government regulator, .au Domain Administration (auDA), has been underwhelming.

But the consequences for a small or family business could be massive.

Act quickly to meet the 20 September deadline

A new system is being introduced allowing anyone with a connection to Australia to register the .au category of domain name. Instead of ending with .com.au, .net.au, .asn.au, etc, people can have a shorter name. For example, shoes.com.au could be shoes.au

But auDA has decided that businesses with an existing domain name will only have until 20 September to register their equivalent .au name before it becomes available to the general public.

I am urging small and family business owners and leaders to move swiftly to safeguard their brand and identity on the internet. Otherwise you risk seeing impersonators, web-name ‘squatters’ or cyber criminals take up domain names just like yours.

Ask yourself, would I be upset if someone else had the .au version of my existing domain name? Would I feel the digital engagement I’ve developed with my customers would be compromised if I didn’t have that abridged version?

It’s worth spending a few minutes and a few dollars to protect your digital assets. Do it before it is too late. The clock is ticking.

After 20 September, cybercriminals can register instead

If you don’t get control of the .au version of your domain name, a cybercriminal masquerading as you could try to reach your customers to harvest personal information. They could even intercept invoices so they can substitute different bank account details.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has issued an alert that “opportunistic cybercriminals could register your .au domain name in an attempt to impersonate your business”.

With all the challenges small business owners and leaders are facing now, the last thing anyone needs is someone ripping off their domain name.


This article was first published on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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