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Over half Irish firms security breached

Tuesday, February 04 14:40:17

More than half (51pc) of Irish businesses suffered a security breach in 2013, according to research from Data Solutions today.

Security incidents include external threats from viruses and malware (40pc), to internal incidents such as data leakage by employees (14pc).

The research was commissioned by Data Solutions in conjunction with IT security provider, Check Point, and was carried out by Mediateam. A total of 231 IT professionals in businesses around Ireland responded to the survey.

When comparing 2013 to the previous twelve months, almost a quarter (23pc) of those surveyed experienced an increase in the number of IT security incidents, while 63pc felt the rate of incidents remained the same.

The number of high profile data breaches in 2013 has affected the IT professionals' view on the security of their company's data, with 80pc now more concerned about this data being stolen and 70pc admitting they have changed their IT security policies or practices in light of this.

While 30pc of respondents said they have everything in place to respond effectively if a security breach did take place, 59pc felt they could be more prepared and 7pc have no response plans in place.

When asked if they have an incident response strategy in place with third party suppliers whom they share confidential data and information with, 46pc admitted they do not. Furthermore, 37pc do not evaluate the IT security of third parties with whom they share data or network access.

45pc of respondents said they would be willing to collaborate with other companies following an IT security breach, in order to share lessons learned and insights on the attack, to prevent future incidents.

James McLoughlin, senior security engineer at Data Solutions commented on the findings, "In light of the high profile security breaches in the last number of years, particularly the recent Loyaltybuild breach, it was interesting to note that many businesses still do not assess the security practices of third parties with whom they share data.

"Although 85pc of those surveyed do ask where data will be stored when handing over company information to a third party, 46pc said they have no incident response plans in place with third party suppliers. This might indicate a lack of understanding among Irish organisations that all businesses are now a target, not just large multinationals. If they have not given forethought to an incident response strategy then they will not be in a good position to react when the inevitable breach occurs."

Keith Bird, Check Point's MD for UK and Ireland said, "While security incidents continue to increase in number and severity, it's good to see that a majority of businesses are taking positive steps to mitigate the risks of attacks and breaches. It's also encouraging that nearly 60pc of respondents admitted they could do more to prepare their business to respond to a breach. It's critical for organisations to be able to protect customers' sensitive information against leaks and losses, and this will be a key theme for the Secure Computing Forum in March."