Survey suggests 90,000 Irish SMEs had data stolen in the last year

31 Mar 2022

Datapac general manager Karen O'Connor. Image: Datapac

Datapac’s Karen O’Connor said backing up data is a vital part of cybersecurity ‘that shouldn’t be overlooked’.

An estimated 90,000 Irish SMEs have had data stolen in the past 12 months, while more than 40pc permanently lost data in the same period, according to the results of a new survey.

In a survey of 150 small and medium business owners, 86pc said they are concerned that they could become a target of cybercrime, while 37pc said they experienced a cyberattack in the last year.

Despite this, 23pc admitted that they are not prepared to defend themselves from a cyberattack.

The survey was carried out last month by Censuswide in association with Datapac and cybersecurity and backup specialist Datto. The results were released today (31 March) to coincide with World Backup Day, designed to raise awareness about backups and data preservation.

“Our survey has highlighted the unprecedented scale of cybercrime for small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland today,” Datapac general manager Karen O’Connor said. “The vast majority of business owners are concerned about being a cybercrime target, yet many still don’t seem to be taking the necessary steps to improve their protection.

“While threat detection and prevention are important parts of the cybersecurity puzzle, they don’t solve it alone. Data backup is a vital component and one that shouldn’t be overlooked,” O’Connor added.

More than a quarter of Irish SME owners surveyed said they would go out of business if they suffered a permanent loss of critical data, while 38pc said it would impede business growth and 29pc said it would result in the loss of customers.

Just over half (56pc) of businesses said they rely on the cloud for some or all of their data storage needs. However, only 5pc said they back up their data in real time, while 72pc reported that their data backup frequency is once per week or less.

“In the likely event of a cyberattack, a robust backup and business continuity solution is the last line of defence and enables most businesses to recover quickly from business-critical data loss,” O’Connor said. “Put simply, data cannot be recovered if it isn’t backed up effectively to begin with.”

There have been several high-profile cyberattacks in the past year highlighting the need for improved cyber defences, including the HSE ransomware attack in Ireland. Earlier this month, an Irish research team said mandatory cybercrime reporting would improve the amount of data available to researchers to help combat the growing global cybercrime industry.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic