Half of Irish business hit by ‘multiple’ cyberattacks

Despite evident risks companies are still cutting cybersecurity spending, study finds

Small and medium businesses in Ireland are coming under increasing attack from cyber criminals, a new study has found, with almost half experiencing multiple attacks in the past three years.

The study, published by Microsoft and Vodafone, found the average business lost €8,500 in the attacks, adding up to a total of €2.3 billion.

Of those who had experienced a breach, some 43 per cent said they had been attacked up to five times.

However, the majority of businesses said they still felt unprepared for an attack, and more than a third confessed to cutting their cybersecurity spending.


‘Political unrest’

“Despite rising inflationary costs, economic and political unrest, and the aftereffects of the pandemic, we have seen SMBs transform, grow and adapt through significant change. Our research shows that for SMBs to stay resilient and insulated from risk, security needs to be front and foremost in their strategic plans,” said Sinéad Bryan, managing director of Vodafone Ireland Business.

“It is also evident that technology will play an even bigger role in how SMBs plan for continued recovery and growth.”

Wider business confidence was reasonably high, with the majority of business owners expecting growth in the next 12 months and more than 40 per cent expecting to achieve growth of between 25 and 50 per cent, mainly through a combination of new local and international markets.

Ecommerce and revenue

The survey, which questioned the owners of more than 250 small and medium-sized businesses, also found ecommerce was playing an increasingly important role in driving revenue for businesses. Almost 60 per cent said online sales account for up to 50 per cent of their revenue, with digitalisation also providing benefits for businesses through increased productivity and sales.

“Our study highlights the significant rise in the rate of digitalisation among SMBs during the pandemic, and the direct financial and business growth that this has created,” said Anne Sheehan, general manager of Microsoft Ireland. “However, despite the many benefits of a digital strategy, it is still considered to be a low to medium priority for many companies we surveyed. Indeed, our findings show that since the end of the pandemic, the rate of digitalisation has decreased.”

Ms Sheehan said it was of the “utmost importance” that small and medium-sized businesses maintained a position of digital perseverance. “With digital perseverance as an imperative, technology will support companywide growth, despite internal and external risk and allow them to achieve their business goals and do more with less.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist