Data Solutions has revealed the results of its 2016 Information Security Survey. The survey found that 20% of Irish businesses have fallen victim to ransomware attacks, a serious form of cybercrime that sees hackers hold a business’ sensitive and critical data for ransom. Despite the serious nature of such an attack, 93% of respondents stated that they would never pay a ransom to hackers.

The survey was carried out in association with TechPro magazine among 137 senior IT decision makers in Irish businesses during February and March 2016. The full results of the research will be revealed at the Data Solutions Secure Computing Forum taking place in the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 on 12th May.

In a clear sign of the changing landscape of information security, and increased awareness of the threat of cybercrime, the survey also found that 80% of businesses upgraded their IT security in the past year, and that more than 55% of companies expect to spend more on security measures in 2016 than they did in the previous year.

Despite this growing awareness, less than 10% of respondents stated that they were ‘absolutely confident’ that their information security measures are effective. More than 40% said that they considered brand and reputational damage to be the main risks of a data breach with just 0.8% saying they would consider job loss their primary concern. Brand protection from cybercrime will be an important discussion point at this year’s Secure Computing Forum.

Other notable stats highlight that businesses are concerned about the risk of data loss or disclosure as a direct result of cybercrime, with 55% stating that this was their main concern. Other causes of concern were DDoS attacks – which recently plagued Irish government and public sector websites and the national lottery – social engineering and data destruction.

Although almost half of respondents stated that they were concerned about attacks through the supply chain, nearly a quarter (23%) do not build specific requirements for information security into the contracts of third party suppliers. This is a 12% increase from last year’s research, and highlights that businesses are at even higher risk of a breach in the supply chain, the cause of many high profile breaches such as the attack on retail giant Target.

Micheal O’Hara, group managing director, Data Solutions, said: “The results of this survey present an interesting and worrying picture of the current state of the Irish information security landscape and the approaches being taken by companies to protect themselves. The Secure Computing Forum will focus on where Irish businesses are falling short and what they need to do to ensure their infrastructure is safe.

“The fact that 80% of businesses are upgrading and changing their security infrastructure is reassuring, but it begs the question what are the other 20% doing? Cybercriminals are forever changing their approach and businesses need to constantly adapt to keep up.

“93% say that they would never pay a ransom, but faced with the reality of an actual ransomware attack I think you’d find most would. Every business has sensitive or mission critical data and ultimately it would come down to a business decision if that was under threat. Less than 10% have complete confidence in their information security measures and this highlights the pressing need for companies to take the threat of these and other forms of cyberattacks more seriously.”

Tickets for the Data Solutions Secure Computing Forum are available at http://securecomputingforum.ie/. The event takes place in the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 on 12th May.

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