Irish businesses have more work to do on cybersecurity, PwC says

7 Apr 2021379 Views

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A survey found that while many executives have increased investments in cybersecurity, they aren’t fully confident it’s enough.

While most Irish businesses have changed their strategies around cybersecurity during the pandemic, there is still much to be done to catch up with ever-evolving threats.

That’s according to a new report from PwC that found many businesses are struggling with how to allocate funds appropriately to strengthen defences.

It said that 96pc of Irish businesses have altered their cybersecurity strategy during Covid-19 but 60pc said they lack confidence that their cybersecurity spending is being used correctly. About 37pc said that they are considering changing their budgeting process.

These concerns are being raised at a time when companies big and small have seen the digitisation of their industries accelerate greatly.

‘While great strides are being made, the survey suggests that more can be done by Irish firms compared to their global peers’
– PAT MORAN

More than 3,200 business and technology executives around the world, including in Ireland, were surveyed for the report.

It found that Irish respondents weren’t as focused on efficiency and automation to cut costs as other countries – only 27pc said they significantly improved customer experiences while making progress on cybersecurity. This compares to 45pc globally.

Communication is also an issue in Ireland. Only 30pc said there is likely to be greater communications between a chief information security officer and the chief executive or the board.

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“While great strides are being made, the survey also suggests that more can be done by Irish firms compared to their global peers, particularly, to speed up automation and achieve efficiencies,” Pat Moran, PwC Ireland cyber practice leader, said.

“It is also important that the head of information security is in regular communication with the CEO and board to balance the technology and business requirements of any cyber strategy.”

Talent and spending

Finding the right cybersecurity and other tech talent to improve operations can be a challenge as demand is currently high and there is a skills gap in this sector.

According to PwC, less than a third of Irish respondents plan to hire more cybersecurity talent for their teams over the next year. That figure is 51pc globally. It also found that more and more Irish firms are looking to upskill their existing talent with cybersecurity skills rather than hiring new personnel.

Through investing in cybersecurity, respondents said they hoped to see, over the next two to three years, improvements in their ability to manage threats, improve customer experience and reduce compliance costs.

But the mixed scene captured by the survey, especially when compared with international peers, suggests that Irish businesses still have more work to do beyond increasing budgets; there is also the need to spend more smartly.

“Irish firms have made progress in terms of modernising their capabilities and realigning their cyber strategy in their efforts to beat the cyber attackers,” Moran said.

“But the survey suggests that compared to global peers, Irish firms should place a greater focus on investing in technologies and strengthening their cyber defences to make a more meaningful headway against cyberattackers. Leading cybersecurity teams have a three-fold mission: build trust, build resilience and accelerate innovation.”

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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