Irish cyberattacks will grow due to continued cloud reliance, PwC warns

15 Nov 2022

Image: © Gorodenkoff/

Most Irish execs surveyed said their organisation has seen a rise in cyberattacks since 2020, but many have not mitigated against new risks around cloud adoption or digitised supply chains.

Cyberattacks are expected to escalate in Ireland next year due to a greater reliance on cloud services and third-party providers.

This is according to a recent PwC survey, which found that 88pc of Irish executives have noted an increase in cyberattacks since 2020 due to increased digital acceleration in their organisations.

Despite this increase, only 11pc of Irish executives surveyed said their businesses have fully mitigated the cybersecurity risks associated with accelerated cloud adoption this year.

PwC’s latest Digital Trust Insights study surveyed more than 3,500 senior business executives across 65 countries, including nearly 40 in Ireland.

New ventures, new risks

PwC said businesses have grown more reliant on cloud-based services and third-party providers in recent years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has created a more complex cybersecurity profile for organisations.

Leonard McAuliffe, a partner at PwC in cybersecurity, privacy and forensics, said each new venture creates new cybersecurity risks, “which are on the rise”.

“We expect cyberattacks to escalate in 2023 in Ireland and globally with ransomware not abating,” McAuliffe added. “Cybercrime is one of the main causes of financial and reputational damage for organisations across the world and is a growing concern for businesses.”

PwC said having companies outsourcing to third-party service providers is expected to significantly impact the unauthorised access to IT systems next year.

As businesses become more digital, there are growing cybersecurity concerns about threats to their supply chains.

Roughly 90pc of executives surveyed expressed concern about their organisation’s ability to withstand a cyberattack that disrupts their supply chain, with 56pc being extremely or very concerned.

Cyberattacks expected to rise

Many Irish businesses are expecting cybercrime to rise next year. Some of the top threats anticipated by Irish executives are email compromises, ransomware, attacks on cloud services and attacks due to third-party breaches.

More than half of the Irish respondents expect cyberattacks to be committed by cybercriminals, while 47pc anticipate attacks to come from insiders such as employees or contractors.

Half of the Irish executives confirmed that their organisation had detected a significant cyberthreat and prevented it from impacting their operations in the past 12 months.

Despite this, most of those surveyed admitted they have not fully mitigated cybersecurity risks in several key areas over the last year.

More than 85pc of Irish executives said they have not fully mitigated against risks surrounding remote and hybrid work, while nearly 90pc said the same around cloud adoption.

Close to 90pc also said they have not mitigated against risks around the use of the internet of things and the digitisation of the supply chain.

Three-quarters of Irish respondents confirmed that their organisations plan to spend more on cybersecurity next year. However, executives in Ireland ranked cybersecurity risks as a lower priority than leaders in other countries when it comes to resilience.

“Despite the progress that organisations have made in improving their cybersecurity programs, the survey shows that there is a lot more to do,” McAuliffe said. “With a greater proportion of Irish business leaders planning to increase their cyber budget in 2023, the survey shows that prevention of cybercrime is a key focus area for Irish businesses.

“Being able to prevent cybercriminals from compromising data and systems is critical to establishing digital trust among customers and third parties.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic