One in five Irish firms faced a cyberattack in 2022, survey shows

17 Feb 2023

Aon head of cyber solutions for Ireland and the Nordics Karl Curran. Image: Aon

The Aon survey found that cyberattacks have grown to be a primary concern for businesses, though the level of security training declined last year.

Nearly 20pc of Irish companies experienced a cyberattack last year with larger companies being more at risk, according to a new survey by Aon.

The company’s survey of 228 business leaders suggests that large companies with more than 250 staff were more likely to face a cyberattack than smaller businesses.

Only 9pc of SME leaders said they were hit with a cyberattack in 2022, compared to 21pc of large companies. Roughly 18pc of Irish companies in total said they faced an attack last year.

The Aon survey also suggests the levels of cybersecurity among companies is in decline, as only 35pc said they provided cybersecurity training to their staff. This is a decline from the 40pc reported in a 2021 survey.

Despite this decline, cyberattacks continue to grow as one of the primary risks among business leaders. The survey suggests cyberattacks is viewed as the fourth biggest risk facing organisations.

Aon’s head of cyber solutions for Ireland and the Nordics, Karl Curran said business leaders are “acutely aware” of the risk that cyberattacks present and “the need to plan accordingly”.

“However, far too often, successfully managing cyber risk only becomes a priority after a cyber incident has occurred,” Curran said.

“Despite the majority of Irish firms planning to invest more in cybersecurity and resilience in the coming years, more than a quarter of Irish business leaders don’t have any plans to invest more in cybersecurity and resilience in the near future.”

Curran said companies should review their cybersecurity posture and take a “strategic approach” that is informed by data.

He added that companies should start by assessing the cybersecurity landscape, identifying how risks can be mitigated and “when faced with a crisis, recovering with speed”.

“By taking a data-driven, circular approach to cyber resilience, business and IT leaders can come together to make better decisions that protect the future of their organisation and its people,” Curran said.

A recent survey by the Institute of Directors in Ireland found that 41pc of organisations have experienced a cyberattack in the past, with most of these occurring within the last two years.

Earlier this month, Munster Technological University was hit with a ransomware attack that encrypted its systems, affecting its Cork campuses. The University also revealed that some stolen data has appeared on the dark web as a result of the attack.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic