Ireland has highest proportion of cyber security leaders globally

Jacky Fox, Accenture Security
Jacky Fox, Accenture Security (Image: Accenture)

Report identifies what domestic organisations need to do differently to better defend against cyberattacks



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14 April 2020 | 0

One in three businesses in Ireland have been identified as ‘leaders’ in preventing and defending against cyber attacks, according to research from Accenture.

Its third annual State of Cyber Resilience Study explored the extent to which organisations prioritise security, the effectiveness of current security efforts, and the impact of new security-related investments.

From a global pool of 4,600 enterprise security experts, Ireland emerged as the country with the highest proportion of cybersecurity leaders globally.




From detailed modeling of cyber security performance, the study identified a group of elite ‘leaders’ – 28% in Ireland, 17% globally – that achieve significantly better results from their cyber security technology investments than other organisations. A second group – ‘non-leaders’ – was also identified. The group, which was comprised of 59% of Irish respondents and 74% of global respondents, demonstrated average performance in terms of cyber resilience.

When compared with non-leaders, those identified as leaders are near four times more effective in stopping targeted cyber attacks. They have a threefold advantage when it comes to the speed at which they can fix a security breach. For instance, leaders were four times more likely than non-leaders to detect a breach in less than one day (88% vs. 22%). When defences fail, it found that 55% of leaders in Ireland fixed breaches in 15 days or less, on average, while 34% of breaches in Ireland had no impact at all.

Among the key differences in cybersecurity practices between global leaders and non-leaders, the report identified:

  • Leaders focused more of their budget allocations on sustaining what they already have, whereas the non-leaders place significantly more emphasis on piloting and scaling new capabilities.
  • Leaders were nearly three times less likely to have had more than 500,000 customer records exposed through cyber attacks in the last 12 months (15% vs. 44%).
  • Leaders were nearly three times as likely to provide users of security tools with required training for those tools (30% vs. 12%).

Research also highlighted that investment in innovation is growing. The number of global leaders spending more than 20% of IT budgets on advanced technology investments has doubled in the last three years.

Additionally, direct attacks to security systems dropped by 11% over the last year while security breaches are down 27%. Indirect attacks against weak links in supply chains now account for 29% (40% globally) of security breaches in Ireland. Expense is of significant concern as 69% of respondents claim that the cost of staying ahead of attackers is becoming unsustainable.

“Our analysis identifies a group of stand-out organisations in Ireland that appear to have cracked the code of cyber security when it comes to best practices,” said Jacky Fox, managing director of Accenture Security in Ireland. “Leaders in our survey are far quicker at detecting a breach, mobilising their response, minimising the damage and getting operations back to normal.”

“When a cyber attack prevents a pharmaceutical company from manufacturing drugs or a ship from docking at port – those are the kinds of crippling business impacts we’re most concerned about helping our clients avoid. At a time of great global uncertainty organisations must take every step possible to minimise any negative impacts,” said Fox. “Deferred decisions and delayed actions have immediate and longer-term business continuity impacts. If investments in technology don’t hit the mark when it comes to defending against cyber attacks, C-suite executives are not only jeopardising their operations and finances but their brands and reputations as well.”

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