What is the biggest cybersecurity risk IT managers are facing?

19 Jul 2018

Human error is a worry for IT managers. Image: Farknot Architect/Shutterstock

A new survey from DataSolutions shows many Irish IT experts feel their organisation is not ready to deal with emerging threats.

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving and it can often be intimidating for even the most seasoned IT professionals to keep up. New threats are constantly popping up and this, coupled with ensuring the entire organisation is confident in its security strategy, can cause major headaches.

A new survey from IT solutions distributor DataSolutions asked 111 high-level Irish IT decision makers about their current cybersecurity strategy and biggest concerns ahead of its annual Secure Computing Forum in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 20 September.

Human error is the biggest cybersecurity risk

According to the survey, 60pc of decision-makers would say human error is the biggest cybersecurity risk facing Irish businesses. Close to two-thirds (63pc) of respondents said their organisations are not equipped to deal with all emerging threats and 76pc said they expect to increase their cybersecurity spend in 2018. Some are making quite significant increases, with 30pc of respondents indicating a rise in spend of more than a quarter.

Although an increase in spend is forecast, IT professionals are feeling the pinch with 51pc of respondents saying cybersecurity budgets in their organisations were not high enough to invest in the required infrastructure.

There are particular threats weighing on the minds of respondents – 57pc consider phishing attacks to be a serious threat, followed by malware at 54pc and ransomware at 52pc.

Increasingly sophisticated threats

David Keating, security specialist at 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, 70pc 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.”

Keating added that educating teams is a vital next step: “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.”

“Simply throwing more money at cybersecurity is not the answer to these new challenges. Organisations must adopt a strategic and targeted approach to effectively combat threats.”

He concluded by noting an evolving outlook among Irish IT professionals: “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.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects