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Data hacks in Irish firms at record high

Tuesday, January 21 14:57:04

Irish Companies are suffering data breaches in record numbers, according to a major new survey from The Irish Computer Society (ICS).

The survey, conducted among IT administrators in 256 Irish- based companies, reveals that more than half of Irish firms have experienced a data breach in the last 12 months, with 22pc suffering multiple breaches.

It found 51pc of respondents reported the incidence of data breaches in the past year. This is sharply up on the previous 12 months, where just 43pc reported a breach. One in three Irish company's staff are not sufficiently aware of data protection issues, while some 40pc of Irish IT staff receive "insufficient" or "no" data protection training.

Asked about the correct adoption of data protection procedures, more than one in three Irish company IT managers said that policies are not implemented or are just partially implemented. Asked about the nature of data breaches generally suffered in Ireland, companies here said that most result from "negligent employees".

However, the next biggest threats were split between "external attackers seeking to obtain data" and "end user devices with sensitive data", such as unencrypted laptops. The new figures come as the introduction of new data protection legislation that will see it made necessary for most organisations to have a Data Protection Officer is imminent.

The threat of data breaches is exacerbated by moderate levels of awareness and training within Irish companies. Fintan Swanton, Chairman of the Association of Data Protection Officers believes that the results of this survey indicate the need for organisations to take steps to manage their data processing environment.