Most Irish businesses lack sufficient awareness of cyber security measures, survey finds
Research conducted by iReach Insights on behalf of Google has found that the majority of SMEs (77%) agree that having a secure online presence is a priority for their business, with 42% strongly agreeing that it is a priority.
However, just 20% are ‘very aware’ of the specific measures or tools required to protect their data/ digital assets while 64% know a little but not much.
When it comes to protecting their website and digital assets, the research shows that just over a half of SMEs regularly back-up data (54%), ensure software is updated (53%), and use two step authentication for accessing common owned devices (53%).
Despite the fact that a strong majority of Irish SMEs readily recognise the benefits of having a secure online presence, less than half of SMEs require employees to periodically change passwords (44%) or take regular or annual security awareness training (38%). Even less (28%) have an incident response plan in case of a cyberattack.
When it comes to how cyber security is managed, 38% of SMEs have their cybersecurity managed in-house, 25% have it outsourced, while 37% have a mix of both. Interestingly, the 38% of SMEs that have their cybersecurity managed in-house express the highest levels of satisfaction at 70%. The 37% of SMEs that have a mix of both In-House and Outsourcing, show the lowest satisfaction levels at 53%.
The findings were published as Google added a new module, ‘Improve your online business security’, to the You’re the Business initiative, a digital training scheme to help upskill Irish SMEs. Launched in July 2022 by Google, Enterprise Ireland, and the Local Enterprise Offices, You’re the Business aims to accelerate Irish SME growth through digitalisation in the form of tailored, free of charge online training as well as an SME reward programme.
Marie Davis, head of SME Retail, UK and Ireland, Google said: “We are introducing a new cyber security module as our research informs us that while Irish SMEs understand the importance of cyber security, they are not always aware of the measures required to protect their data and digital assets. Designed by Google experts, this online training program will better protect SMEs from the growing threat of cyberattack.”
“Cybersecurity has been identified as a key area of both threat and growth in the coming years,” said John Magee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices. “It is vital that small businesses understand that, particularly those that have a significant online presence. As sustainability has become a pillar for many small businesses, so should cybersecurity and it is fantastic that we can now offer that expertise to every small business across the country through our partnership with Google and the You’re the Business initiative. This is another area where we are expanding our approach to ensure small businesses are getting the support they need from their Local Enterprise Office.”