One in five Irish businesses ‘unprepared’ for cyber attack

Survey estimates up to 50,000 companies could be affected

One in five Irish businesses have yet to put a cyber security policy in place to protect their business, new research has found.

That means as many as 50,000 Irish companies could be unprepared for an attack, the survey by Magnet+ said, leaving a large gap to be bridged to ensure businesses are prepared.

The data, which was conducted to examine the current attitude of Irish businesses to their network security, showed half of Irish businesses have not put an email security solution in place, despite almost a quarter of businesses viewing email attachments as the greatest cyber security threat to their business.

A quarter of companies are relying on social media and blogs to find out about attacks and potential threats. Only 16 per cent rely on a cyber security consulting firm, and 13 per cent say they don’t stay up to date at all.


In a third of businesses, less than 10 per cent of the IT budget goes towards cyber security, and only a quarter of businesses say they have increased their budget for 2022.

John Delves, Managing Director of Magnet+, said the results were concerning. "We live in a digital economy where the risk of a cyberattack on a business is always increasing and usually these cyber hackers tend to be a step ahead," he said.

“For organisations with no cybersecurity system in place, the potential damage that could be caused from an attack may be irreversible. It’s also alarming to see that 28 per cent of businesses say it’s difficult to make a business case for management to invest in cybersecurity when it should be a key focus of theirs. At the end of the day, it is the CEO’s responsibility to understand the core principles of cybersecurity and ensure an investment in cybersecurity is a top priority”.

The survey came as Magnet+ announced its partnership with IT, communications and technology company Exponential-e, allowing the Irish telecoms company to add a full cyber security service to its suite of connectivity solutions. Previously known as Magnet+ Networks, the company was acquired in December 2020 by Speed Fibre Group, the owner of Enet and Airspeed Telecom.

"In the current climate we are seeing an increase in the number of cyber-attacks on a global scale and the reality is what we read about in the media is a very small percent of the actual number of cyber-crimes happening as more often than not, it's the SMES and smaller companies that are being hit the most," said Simon Acott, director of business with Exponential-e. " The results from Magnet+'s survey indicate that there is an overall lack of awareness and understanding re the importance of cyber security for SMEs, which is a bit unnerving given the world we are living in currently. Business owners need to prepare for the inevitable and start seeing investing in cybersecurity as an asset as opposed to a cost."

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist