Business management

Azets report shows cyber security tops list of SME concerns

Micro businesses in danger of being left behind on AI

21 June 2024

Cyber security investment is a top priority for SMEs according to a report from professional services firm Azets Ireland.

The Azets Barometer Survey, which featured 111 responses from businesses across Ireland between April and May 2024, 91% of Irish businesses are planning to invest in cybersecurity measures, with other priorities including recruitment and talent acquisition (89%) digitalisation (88%), employee retention (87%). Micro businesses – those employing nine people or less – place the highest emphasis on cyber security measures. Recruitment will receive the largest investment, with 44% planning to invest at least €60,000.

More than half (57%) of micro businesses said they will make no investment in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next 12 months. In comparison, 96% of medium-sized businesses that employ 50-249 people said they will invest in AI in the coming year.

The results of the survey reveal that the main challenges companies face related to talent are compensation and benefits (41%), competition from other employers (36%), and skills shortage in the labour market (33%). In comparison to their northern European counterparts, Irish businesses exhibit considerable confidence in their ability to attract and retain top talent despite the competitive labour market.

Neil Hughes, CEO of Azets Ireland said: “The latest Azets Barometer indicates that businesses are generally confident about the future and Ireland’s economic prospects… It’s clear from the Azets Barometer that Irish businesses are prioritising investments in cyber security and people as they look to protect their data and grow their workforce.

He continued: “Entrepreneurial, owner-managed, and family-owned businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy, employing more than two thirds of all those working in the private sector. At Azets Ireland, we’re expanding of our team of experts who have a deep understanding of the dynamics of these ambitious businesses and how to fuel their future growth.”

TechCentral Reporters

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