Irish businesses ‘can do better’ in war against cybercrime

While the vast majority of Irish businesses have updated their cybersecurity strategies due to Covid-19, a lot more can be done.

An overwhelming 96pc of the Irish respondents to a survey by PwC said that they have shifted their cybersecurity strategy due to Covid-19. However, they are doing less than their counterparts to secure their businesses adequately.

Nearly half (47pc) said that they are now more likely to consider cybersecurity in every business decision; a similar proportion (43pc) confirmed that Covid-19 will result in better quantification of cyber risks.

“Given the unprecedented impacts of Covid-19,  many organisations have had to re-think and re-frame their cybersecurity strategies”

However, while great strides have been made, Irish firms can do better to stop the cyber attackers compared to global peers. For example, better allocation of budgets to the right risks, accelerating digitisation, strengthening cybersecurity defences and responding more quickly to cyber incidents. 

Less than half of Irish survey respondents plan to increase resilience testing to prevent the most disruptive cyber attack. 

Digital aspirations

PwC’s research 2021 Global Digital Trust Insights: Cybersecurity comes of age is based on research amongst over 3,200 business and technology executives from around the world including in Ireland and reveals insights into what’s changing and what’s next in cybersecurity. 

To achieve digital aspirations, Irish respondents are less focused on doing things faster and more efficiently (20pc) and speeding up automation to cut costs (30pc) compared to global peers (Global: 29pc and 35pc respectively).

Just 27pc say they have significantly improved customer experiences (Global: 45pc) as part of their cybersecurity progress. In addition, just three out of ten (30pc) stated that there is likely to be more frequent interactions between their chief information security officer and CEO or Board (Global: 51pc). 

“Given the unprecedented impacts of Covid-19,  many organisations have had to re-think and re-frame their cybersecurity strategies,” said Pat Moran, PwC Ireland’s Cyber Practice Leader.

“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. 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.”

There is a talent war in security

With a significant number of cyber security jobs to be filled in Ireland in 2021 – a key challenge plaguing the cybersecurity industry is a lack of skilled people. At the same time, just under a third (30pc) of Irish respondents plan to add full-time cybersecurity personnel over the next year compared to 51pc globally.

The top cybersecurity roles Irish executives are looking to fill include: cloud solution architects (50pc), collaboration (50pc), digital design (47pc), security intelligence (43pc) and data analysis (40pc).

More than half (55pc) of respondents state that their cyber budget will increase in 2021. While a larger budget for cybersecurity is good news, the industry should expect changes in the way these budgets are being managed.  60pc of executives lack confidence that their cyber spending is allocated towards the most significant risks of their organisation (Global: 55pc). Nearly four out of ten (37pc) say that they’re thinking about changing their budgeting process (Global: 44pc).   

At the same time, less than a third (30pc) strongly agree that quantification of cyber risks can significantly improve the way they manage spending against risks (Global:37pc).  Just over one in ten (13pc) strongly agree that their organisation can strengthen its cybersecurity defenses while containing costs (Global: 34pc).

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 8 April 2021