Irish firms locked in ‘constant battle’ with cyberattackers, report finds

Some 58% have seen attempted attacks over last 12 months, Accenture says

Almost three in five large Irish companies have recorded an attempted cyberattack in the past 12 months as they battle to stay ahead of cyber criminals, according to research by Accenture.

The consulting firm said 58 per cent of large Irish companies had suffered an attempted attack by an external part over this time, while 86 per cent agreed that “staying ahead of attackers is a constant battle and the cost is unsustainable” – up from 65 per cent who said so in last year’s survey.

Four-fifths (82 per cent) said they had increased their spending on cybersecurity as a result, while just 5 per cent of attempted breaches actually succeeded.

Some 100 Irish companies were surveyed as part of a global Accenture study, which questioned more than 4,700 executives earlier this year on their cybersecurity resilience. This is the fourth such annual survey by Accenture and follows some high-profile cyberattacks around the world.


Almost half of Irish organisations say that a lack of accurate and timely information over their company’s cash positions is preventing them from reaching their optimum cybersecurity levels, however.

Other reasons for falling behind include working in silos, unclear accountability, use of older “legacy” platforms and a lack of funding.

"While the Irish organisations in our survey are far quicker than before at detecting a breach, mobilising their response and getting operations back to normal, cyber adversaries are getting more resourceful at finding new ways to carry out their attacks," said Jacky Fox, group technology officer at Accenture Security.

“Even a global pandemic can’t stop cyber criminals – if anything, the vulnerability and uncertainty was a breeding ground for new attacks.”

Accenture said its analysis suggested organisations too often focused solely on business outcomes at the expense of cybersecurity.

Business risks

“To achieve sustained and measurable cyber resilience, chief information security officers need to move away from security-focused silos so they can collaborate with the right executives in their organisation to gain a 360-degree view of the business risks and priorities,” Ms Fox said.

The report highlights the need to extend cybersecurity efforts beyond a company’s own walls to its entire ecosystem.

Despite many Irish organisations believing that their ecosystem is secure, indirect attacks – breaches to the organisation through the supply chain – accounted for almost two-thirds of all cyberattacks over the past year.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics