Data stolen from 90,000 Irish businesses in past year

Nearly 90,000 Irish SMEs have had data stolen in the past 12 months, while over two-fifths permanently lost data in the same period.

New research on SME business owners in Ireland carried out by Censuswide in association with Datapac and cybersecurity and backup specialist Datto during February 2022 found that 27% of respondents to a survey of 150 SMEs, believe they would go out of business as a result of permanent data loss, but just 5% back up their data in real-time.

Conducted to coincide with World Backup Day (31 March) today, the study found that as well as the fear of losing data, cybercrime is still a major cause for concern for SME business owners.

“Put simply, data cannot be recovered if it isn’t backed up effectively to begin with”

The research found that 37% experienced a known cyberattack in the last year, while 86% of respondents are concerned that they will become a target.

Yet, nearly a quarter (23%) admit they’re not at all prepared to defend themselves against cyberattacks.

Disaster recovery

Despite the prevalence of cybercrime and data loss, just 5% of Irish SMEs back up their data in real-time, with nearly three quarters (72%) reporting that their data backup frequency is once per week or less.

“Wherever the data lives, be it in an on-premises server or in the cloud, it needs to be backed up with the highest frequency possible”

The research shows around a fifth (21%) of small businesses don’t have a tested Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place in the event of data theft or loss. In addition, 43% admitted they don’t have a secure copy of their data held offsite.

83% state that they have plans to increase their level of outsourced IT to a managed service provider (MSP) over the coming year. Nearly a third (32%) attribute this decision to a need to address cybersecurity shortcomings in the face of the cybercrime risk, while 36% cited the need to access a wider range of expert IT skills and knowledge.

“Our survey has highlighted the unprecedented scale of cybercrime for small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland today,” said Karen O’Connor, general manager of Datapac’s Service Delivery Division.

“With over four in 10 of all Irish SMEs permanently losing mission-critical data over the past year and almost a third having data stolen, this can have significant and damaging repercussions for these businesses and their customers.

“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. With almost three quarters of firms only backing up their data weekly or even less, this presents a huge challenge for businesses to maintain continuity after an incident.

“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. Put simply, data cannot be recovered if it isn’t backed up effectively to begin with,” O’Connor said.

Nicholas O’ Donovan, Sales Manager, Datto Ireland, said: “The pandemic has permanently changed the way many organisations work, fundamentally altering where data is created and stored.

“A more dispersed workforce creates a larger network threat perimeter, which increases the risk of cyberattack. Wherever the data lives, be it in an on-premises server or in the cloud, it needs to be backed up with the highest frequency possible in a way that allows instant restoration for when disaster strikes.”

Main image: Karen O’Connor, general manager of Datapac’s Service Delivery Division

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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