Half of Irish organisations lack budget and skills to defend against cybercrime

27 Nov 2014

Around half the organisations in Ireland have neither the skills, budget or ability to detect a sophisticated cyberattack against them.

Ernst & Young’s (EY) annual Global Information Security survey Get Ahead of Cybercrime which this year surveyed 1,825 organisations in 60 countries, including Ireland, found that 47pc of Irish organisations are unlikely to be able to detect a sophisticated cyberattack.

Although 82pc of Irish respondents reported that security spending will increase somewhat over the next 12 months, over 50pc of Irish respondents still cite budget as their main obstacle to their cybersecurity programme.

“Organisations now acknowledge that outright prevention of sophisticated cyberattacks is unrealistic and that only half of respondents are confident of detecting attacks. Enhancing the monitoring required to detect attacks and enable rapid response will require significant investment in a security operations centre capability, which is not widely reflected in short term budget expectations. This means that vulnerability to cyberattacks will continue and security functions will struggle in fully meeting the needs of the business.”

The EY findings come at a time when new security bugs and data breaches have become a weekly if not daily headline. Just this week Sony Pictures was hit by a massive cyberattack that took down its entire computer network.

Defending the Silicon Valley of Europe

While most businesses would be on the look-out for attacks by cyber-criminals, the emergence of sophisticated cyberwarfare technologies is also a cause for concern. 

This week Symantec discovered existence of Regin, a spy bug widely believed to have been developed by either the US NSA or UK’s GCHQ that has the ability to capture screenshots, record passwords and recover deleted files.

More worrying for Ireland it found that Ireland had the distinction of attracting 9pc of global attacks for some reason. That reason is most likely due to the large presence of multinationals on these shores.

“Ireland continues to enjoy its international reputation as ‘the Silicon Valley of Europe’,” Callaghan pointed out.

“However; the results of the survey indicate that while they have come a long way, Irish organisations need to further educate themselves on the realities of cybercrime in order for Ireland to maintain its competitive edge as a leader in technology and digital services.

“Success in the digital economy is founded on trust and cybersecurity breaches can severely damage that trust. Ireland needs to be regarded as a safe place to do business online,” Callaghan said.

Data breach image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years