Cybercrime poses an ever-increasing risk to businesses in Ireland and around the world, with cybercriminals taking advantage of economic instability and the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic.
Malicious attacks can inflict major damage on your business, potentially affecting everything from your reputation to your bottom line. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what a cyber attack is, what the risks and repercussions are, and what you can do to safeguard your business.
Cybercrime is the number one threat facing Irish businesses
Last year’s devastating attack on the HSE left Ireland reeling, and cybercriminals are showing no signs of slowing down. Cyber attacks are the number one threat facing Irish businesses today, according to Aon’s 2021 Global Risk Management Survey.
In fact, it is the number one current and predicted future risk, not just in Ireland, but on a global scale. According to the Guardian, the number of ransomware attacks on British institutions doubled in the past year.
Aon’s survey found that Irish businesses are more worried about cyberattacks and data breaches than any of the following:
- Pandemic risk
- Rising input prices
- Reputational damage
- Supply chain disruption
- Business interruption
- Impact of Brexit
- Another economic slowdown
The report showed a worrying increase in the number of malicious attacks against businesses, but what is behind such a substantial rise in cybercrime?
One reason is the global increase in remote and hybrid working. Our dependence on connectivity and digital infrastructure has left us more vulnerable to attacks than ever before, and our home networks are generally much less secure than those in the office.
Peter Brady, Aon Ireland’s chief executive of commercial risk and health solutions, commented that “cyberattacks are at the very forefront of business concerns as many companies in Ireland evolve to a hybrid working model and look to increase the pace of digital transformation”.
Consequences of a cyber attack
Irish businesses need to be hyper-aware of the potential consequences of a successful cyberattack, which include:
- Reputational damage due to lack of trust from customers, suppliers and partners
- Financial losses as a result of theft, ransomware, downtime and repairs
- Potential legal consequences if you are found to have taken inadequate security measures
According to the 2020 PwC Irish Economic Crime Survey, cybercrime in Ireland was double the global average and three times as disruptive. Another report by Grant Thornton Ireland showed that cyberattacks cost the Irish economy €9.6bn last year.
Statistics like these serve as a stark reminder that Irish businesses simply cannot afford to slack off when it comes to cybersecurity.
How to minimise the impact of a cyber attack
According to Rich Nolan, managing director for cyber investigations at Citigroup, companies around the world must increase their cybersecurity budgets and embrace zero-trust architecture to deal with cyber risks.
However, if your business does fall victim to any form of cybercrime, it is extremely important to manage the risks accordingly. After an attack happens, an effective cyber security incident response plan can help you:
- Reduce the impact of the attack
- Report the incident to the relevant authority (i.e. the cybercrime unit of An Garda Síochána)
- Clean up the affected systems
- Get your business up and running in the shortest time possible
It’s wise to invest in user training, education and awareness in your organisation on an ongoing basis.
The importance of having a reliable IT Managed Service Provider (MSP)
According to Grant Thorton’s report, 95% of Irish businesses consider cybersecurity to be very important. However, only 55% of them have a formal cyber security plan and only 45% have cyber awareness training for their employees.
These are worrying figures when you consider that the same report said: “It is not a question of ‘if’ an Irish business will be the victim of a cyber-attack, but a question of ‘when’. In fact, the ability of businesses to detect and react to an attack will be the key factor in limiting the impact.”
One of the most effective steps you can take to protect your business against cybercrime is to enlist expert help.
When you consider the potentially devastating effects of a cyber attack and the fact that cybercrime is on the rise, it’s crucial that you find the right IT MSP to safeguard your business against threats. In the event of an attack, you want to feel safe in the knowledge that they have everything under control.
At a minimum, your business should have the following security measures in place:
- Virus and malware scanning
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Patching and updates
- Disaster recovery
- Business continuity
- Cybersecurity training
At Calnet IT, we can take care of all these for you. We provide reliable support and proactive solutions for all your cybersecurity needs, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), Network Infrastructure Management services and comprehensive Cyber Security Awareness Training.