Australia has fallen to 18th out of 144 nations in the Networked Readiness Index, part of the 2013 Global Information Technology report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Networked Readiness Index measures the capacity of 144 economies to leverage ICT for growth and wellbeing.
Finland, Sweden and Singapore now lead the index, with Australia slipping down from 17th place in the previous year and 9th place in 2004.
When it comes to IT usage, Australia ranks in 15th place for individuals, 25th place for businesses and 19th place for the government.
The report is one of the most comprehensive and authoritative assessments of the impact of ICT on competitiveness of nations and the well-being of their citizens.
To measure this, the Networked Readiness Index assesses how prepared an economy is to fully leverage ICT in terms of uptake and use among governments, businesses and individuals, and reviews the business and innovation environment as well as the economic and social impacts from ICT.
"The benefits of ICT are now widely recognised as an important way for companies and economies to optimise productivity, free up resources and boost innovation and job creation," co-editor of the report Benat Bilbao-Osorio said in an April 10 statement.
According to Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, the results from the report simply reinforces the need for high speed broadband and the 'critical' need to invest in lifting the skills needed to take advantage of the infrastructure in Australia.
"To address this capability gap, businesses need the confidence and knowledge to invest and governments need complementary policies in areas like skills, innovation, removing regulatory barriers, cyber security and government ICT procurement and use," Mr Willox said in an April 11 statement.
However, despite Australia's fall down the ranks the survey also revealed some good news that shows the country is getting some of the IT basics right.
Australia ranked in 5th place for the installation of anti-piracy software, 6th for secure internet servers per million of population, and 9th for internet sales to consumers by business – which also points to the importance of PCI compliance for companies engaged in online sales.
If you're wondering how best to leverage your ICT system for your business, it's important to note that security is an important aspect of any company's IT capabilities.
Breaches of information security and data leaks can be both costly and embarrassing for companies to deal with, so it's important to ensure that you are taking adequate steps towards vulnerability management.
A professional security solutions firm can undertake penetration testing and even an ethical hacking procedure to help identify and resolve any flaws in your company's security policy before they can be exploited.