Human Error is the Biggest Security Threat to Irish Businesses
The majority (60%) of senior IT decision makers consider human error to be the greatest cyber threat facing Irish businesses, according to the results of new research commissioned by specialist IT solutions distributor, DataSolutions. The July survey* of 111 Irish IT decision-makers also revealed that 93% of respondents claim that their organisations now have a formal cyber defence strategy.
The independent survey shows that almost two thirds (63%) of respondents feel that their organisations are not equipped to deal with all emerging threats. More than three quarters (76%) expect to increase their cybersecurity spend in 2018. Many businesses are planning a significant increase; with 30% indicating a rise in spend of over one quarter.
While security spend is due to increase this year, more than half (51%) of IT professionals still feel there is insufficient budget in their organisation for investing in new security infrastructure, suggesting many still have steps to take to fully protect their business.
The survey found that 57% of respondents considered phishing attacks, which target employee negligence through disguised malicious emails to be a serious security threat. This was followed by malware (54%) and ransomware (52%) as the most worrying security threats.
The survey also revealed that 19% of Irish businesses have been held to ransom by a hacker, but the vast majority (78%) claim they would never pay it.
Commenting on the survey findings, David Keating, security specialist, DataSolutions, said: “It is really encouraging to see companies investing more in their cybersecurity strategy. This is needed in an ever-evolving and increasingly sophisticated threat environment. Of those surveyed, 70% recognise the highly complex nature of modern cyber threats as the leading reason why security teams are not fully prepared to face today’s challenges.
“One-third of respondents feel that their security teams are not completely prepared for today’s cyber security challenges due to a lack of training. An increased focus on training could help equip companies for the biggest perceived security threats. From carelessness and error to phishing attacks, most of the leading security threats are heavily influenced by people and so employee cybersecurity training is a no-brainer for business leaders who are serious about cyber protection.
“Ransomware remains a very real concern for Irish businesses. Almost one in five organisations have been held to ransom, showing that it is a popular method for cybercriminals to generate revenue. Companies need to remain on-guard against not just ransomware but the myriad of cyber threats, with continued investment in security technologies and teams.
“Simply throwing more money at cyber security is not the answer to these new challenges. Organisations must adopt a strategic and targeted approach to effectively combat threats. Investing in current cybersecurity technology is a logical step for many, although one in five IT professionals admitting to using out-dated technology.
“Irish businesses are starting to take a more mature approach to security and accept that it is very likely they will be hit by an emerging threat. Hackers are always going to be one step ahead, so it is essential that companies have the right defence technology in place.”
DataSolutions will host its sixth annual Secure Computing Forum in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Thursday, 20th September 2018. It is one of Ireland’s largest cybersecurity events and more than 400 IT and business professionals are expected to attend. This year’s forum will investigate whether the development of AI presents a silver bullet for cyber-security and look at the ongoing threat posed by ransomware. For more information and to purchase tickets (€60) for the event, visit: https://www.securecomputingforum.ie.
* This survey was commissioned by DataSolutions and carried out by TechPro in July 2018 among 111 senior IT professionals and decision-makers in businesses based in Ireland, which were typically larger enterprises.
Pictured are (L-R): Susan Cahalane, account manager, Check Point Software Technologies; Michael O’Hara, group managing director, DataSolutions; and David Keating, group security sales director, DataSolutions. Photo credit: John Ohle.