Cyber attacks shape business investment in technology, survey finds

Changes to tech habits emerge as 60% of SMEs experience cybersecurity incidents

Irish businesses are becoming increasingly focused on the potential for cyberattacks when making buying decisions on technology, new research has found.

The survey, carried out for Samsung Ireland by 3Gem, found changes to tech habits to help mitigate cybersecurity fears as 60 per cent of Irish SMEs have experienced a cyber-attack in the past year, with one in five a data breach, and 17 per cent a phishing attack.

Reflecting the recent shift to more flexible working, almost 60 per cent of small and medium sized businesses said built-in security features in mobile devices as one of the bigger factors they considered when investing in mobile technology. Some 43 per cent view a potential data breach as their biggest concern.

“In the survey, we saw that 32 per cent of the companies were updating their devices every 18 months,for capabilities first and foremost, but then to stay on top of security as well and just to make sure that they had the right devices to protect those endpoints” said Quentin Doran O’Reilly, Samsung Ireland’s head of product management.


Almost a third of business leaders said they wanted a single device that could cover both work and leisure, but there were concerns about the sharing of company data, with 42 per cent of Irish SMEs do not allow employees to download business data onto their mobile devices.

“The fact that there are 60 per cent of employees permitted to use their mobile device for work data means that these things have to be secure,” Mr Doran O’Reilly said. “There’s a huge education piece to have in place because it’s not just the phishing and the data breaches and all those other malware attacks; 60 per cent of people were worried about losing their device because the data is also gone if you lose it just as much as if someone hacks into it. Even if you’re convinced no one’s going to break in, you can lose the device and in so doing, inadvertently, give people access.”

Two-thirds of those surveyed value the ability to work on the move from their mobile device, 33 per cent choosing a smartphone or tablet as a device for productivity. However, laptops remain a vital tool, with 66 per cent of respondents saying their laptop makes them feel most productive in work.

However, as the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced hybrid work to many new workplaces and industries, SME leaders have become increasingly focused on cybersecurity. But along with hardware, education is a key component in helping prevent attacks.

“It’s not always obvious what the threat is,” explained Mr Doran O’Reilly. “Data breach is the big one that everyone talks about, but if you don’t have a device that is secured against malware, well then you’re going to be in trouble pretty quickly. Password attacks are something that people have seen a lot of, and phishing attacks. It’s the social engineering part of this, which is a really big threat, and not something you can necessarily protect against with just hardware because that’s all about the person.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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