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Characteristics of Australian Business

Data in this release includes; business use of IT, business innovation, collaborative arrangements, business competition and business finance

Reference period
2017-18
Released
25/06/2019

Main features

Data collected from the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) were previously published in three separate releases (cat. no. 8166.0, 8129.0 and 8167.0). The scope of 8167.0 has been expanded to cover information from all of the previous releases and has been renamed to Characteristics of Australian Business. Supplementary data is also available on the ABS website through ABS.Stat (Beta).

Key indicators on the use of information technology (IT), business innovation, collaborative arrangements, business competition and finance sought by Australian businesses can be found in the Data downloads section.

The 2017-18 BCS had a focus on business use of IT.

Selected results

Paid cloud computing

A measure of the adoption of digital technologies by business is the use of paid cloud computing services.

  • The proportion of businesses using paid cloud computing continues to grow, with 42% of businesses reporting the use of cloud computing compared to 31% in 2015-16.
     
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  1. Proportions are of all businesses that used cloud computing and cloud services in each employment size category during the year ended 30 June.
     
  • In 2017-18, insufficient knowledge of paid cloud computing services was the greatest factor limiting or preventing its use (17% of businesses).
  • Over three quarters of innovative businesses (78%) indicated cloud technology was of some importance in regards to their digital technologies, compared to only 53% of non-innovative businesses.
     

Cybersecurity, internet security incidents and breaches

Cybersecurity, internet security incidents and breaches indicators measure the trust businesses have for online business environments and their capabilities to protect themselves against digital security risks.

  • In 2017-18, 54% of businesses indicated cybersecurity was of some importance to their digital technologies, compared to 47% of businesses in 2015-16. The majority (92%) of businesses with 200 or more employees indicated cybersecurity was of some importance in 2017-18.
  • In 2017-18, 11% of businesses reported internet security incidents or breaches. Manufacturing and Wholesale trade industries had the highest proportion of businesses that reported internet security incidents or breaches (18%).
  • For those businesses that reported an internet security breach or incident, downtime of service was the most common impact of the breach or incident (52%).
  • In 2017-18, more than half of businesses with 200 or more employees upgraded cybersecurity software, standards or protocols (52%), compared to approximately a third of these businesses in 2015-16 (34%).
     

Data downloads

Business use of information technology

Internet commerce

Characteristics of internet access

Business innovation and collaboration

Finance and business competition

Survey material

To view the Business Characteristics Survey 2017-18 Questionnaire click here.

History of changes

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01/08/2019 - This update is to notify users that supplementary data is now available through ABS.Stat (Beta) on the ABS website.

01/07/2019 - This update contains an additional table (Table 1) to Datacube 4 (Business innovation and collaboration). The additional table is 'Summary of innovative activity in Australian business, by employment size, by industry, 2017-18'.