1-in-5 businesses have no cybersecurity policy

In a time of targeted attacks by hackers, the equivalent of 50,000 Irish companies have no cybersecurity policy in place.

With approximately 250,000 SMEs located nationwide, according to CSO figures, as many as 50,000 are operating without a cybersecurity policy in the wake of devastating attacks last year on organisations like the HSE.

New research by Magnet+ to assess attitudes of businesses to their network security indicates that 50% of Irish businesses have not implemented an email security solution to prevent cyber threats and attacks.

“These figures are quite concerning to me. We live in a digital economy where the risk of a cyberattack on a business is always increasing and usually these cyber hackers tend to be a step ahead”

Almost one third (83,000) of Irish businesses allocated less than 10% of their IT budget to cybersecurity measures in 2021 and this year’s survey reveals that this trend is unlikely to change in the short term, with 38% saying they have not increased their budget for 2022, while a further 37% say they have no idea if they have increased their budget or not for this year.

Wide open to cyberattacks

Just 25% of businesses say they have increased their cybersecurity budget for 2022.

The survey also found that a quarter of businesses rely on social media and blogs for information on cybersecurity threats and attacks.

When it comes to responsibility for IT security in Irish businesses, the survey reveals that nearly 30% say that the business owner or office manager is responsible; 13% say they either didn’t know who was responsible or that no one was responsible; while 47% say that a CTO or IT manager is responsible

“These figures are quite concerning to me. We live in a digital economy where the risk of a cyberattack on a business is always increasing and usually these cyber hackers tend to be a step ahead,” said John Delves, managing director of Magnet+.

Cybersecurity is an asset, not a cost

Magnet+ operates one of Ireland’s largest connectivity networks within the Irish market. Previously known as Magnet Networks, it was acquired in December 2020 by Speed Fibre Group, the owner of Enet and AirSpeed Telecom. In 2021, Magnet Networks and its sister company AirSpeed Telecom merged to operate as one unified brand – Magnet+.

The survey comes as comes as Magnet+ announces its new partnership with international IT, communications and technology innovator Exponential-e, making Magnet+ the first telecommunications company in Ireland to add a full cybersecurity service to its suite of connectivity solutions.

“The results from Magnet+’s survey indicate that there is an overall lack of awareness and understanding re the importance of cybersecurity for SMES which is a bit unnerving given the world we are living in currently,” said Simon Acott, director of Business with Exponential-e.

“Business owners need to prepare for the inevitable and start seeing investing in cybersecurity as an asset as opposed to a cost.”

The move means that Magnet+ customers can now get their connectivity and security requirements from the one provider – and be secure in the knowledge that as well as benefiting from world class technical expertise, their business will have the highest level of cybersecurity controls possible to protect against any vulnerabilities, threats or breaches.

“Our partnership with Exponential-e will enable us to give businesses the chance to get ahead of the inevitable attack by providing them with the tools and products to prepare and protect their data and networks in advance. For organisations with no cybersecurity system in place, the potential damage that could be caused from an attack may be irreversible.

“It’s also alarming to see that 28% of businesses say it’s difficult to make a business case for management to invest in cybersecurity when it should be a key focus of theirs. At the end of the day, it is the CEO’s responsibility to understand the core principles of cybersecurity and ensure an investment in cybersecurity is a top priority,” Delves said.

Main image at top: John Delves, managing director of Magnet+ and Simon Acott, director of Business at Exponential-e

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