Survey reveals data breach fears as 90% of businesses see rise in cyber attacks 

Nine out of ten businesses surveyed said they have seen a rise in cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

The survey, conducted by consultancy group EY, found that half of Irish cyber security teams fear they are exposed to a major cyber breach because of a lack of funding.

Findings from the EY Global Information Security Survey 2021 shows:

  • 90% of Irish businesses have seen a rise in cyber attacks in the last 12 months (compared to 72% globally);
  • 44% of cyber teams in Ireland say they are lacking the budget to sufficiently manage their cyber-related challenges;
  • 52% say they are more exposed to a major breach than they should be and require additional investment in their cyber defences;
  • Only a third of Irish respondents feel that their executive management fully understands the value and needs of their cyber security teams;
  • The survey is based on a global sample of 1,430 senior cybersecurity executives, 50 of them headquartered in Ireland.

The survey found that, globally, 36% of respondents say they are more exposed to a major breach than they would be if their businesses had committed sufficient resources to their cybersecurity defences.

In Ireland, the figure was 52%, with 44% stating that their budgets were too low to handle the new challenges which have emerged over the last 12 months.

Carol Murphy, EY Ireland Consulting Partner and Head of Technology Risk, commented: “Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, more damaging, longer-lasting, and harder to anticipate.” 

Irish businesses overall express confidence in their ability to manage evolving threats. 

“The majority (60%) say they are confident in understanding and anticipating new strategies used by bad actors, which is encouraging,” Ms Murphy said.

“Where improvement can be made is by creating heightened awareness of these threats at board and executive level. 

“There is a tendency for cyber security to get lost on the priority list and this can leave the entire business exposed. 

“With the regulatory burden rapidly increasing, however, boards are beginning to wake up to the threat posed and to the level of resourcing required, and not before time.”

In a separate survey of 100 IT bosses in Ireland, digital infrastructure company Equinix found that they were most concerned with potential further lockdowns as a result of Covid-19.

It said closely behind that was the impact of an expected global economic downturn (40%); downtime caused by infrastructure issues, such as outages (40%); changing regulatory requirements around data privacy (40%), and the threat of data leaks/ cyber-attacks as a result of increased cloud adoption (38%).

The survey found that the majority of decision-makers in Ireland felt that cybersecurity (79%) and cloud computing (72%) were critical to their organisations success. 

Almost two thirds (63%) feel that data analytics was important.

Maurice Mortell, MD for Ireland, Equinix, said: “Ireland’s IT leaders are worried; and it’s easy to understand why. 

“The pandemic has exposed organisations’ vulnerabilities and cyber criminals are targeting them. 

“We have seen time and again in the last 18 months the damage that one attack can do to an enterprise or organisation’s reputation, so it’s not surprising that most IT decision-makers see cybersecurity as critical to their success.

“Cloud adoption, along with an increase in distributed user devices, are recognised as top threats by IT leaders,” Mr Mortell said. “Cloud is essential as data volumes rise, and hybrid working becomes the norm.” 

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