Almost 90,000 Irish SMEs suffered Data Theft in 2021

DattoA survey from Datapac in conjunction with international Data Backup and Business Continuity specialist Datto finds that an estimated 89,744 SMEs (31%) in Ireland have had data stolen in 2021. Furthermore, the research reveals that over two fifths (41%) of small and medium-sized businesses have permanently lost critical data within the same timeframe.

The research shows 37% of Irish SMEs experienced a known cyberattack in the last year. Looking ahead, 86% of SME business owners are concerned that they will become a cybercrime target. However, almost a quarter (23%) admit that they are not at all prepared to defend themselves against cybercrime. The survey has highlighted the unprecedented scale of cybercrime for small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland today. With over 4 in 10 of Irish SMEs permanently losing mission-critical data over the past year, this can have significant and damaging repercussions for these businesses and their customers.

Evolving Threat Environment

The years of the Covid-19 pandemic witnessed rapid digital transformations across many organisations, largely to help facilitate new remote and hybrid working environments. 56% of businesses reported a reliance on cloud storage for some or all of their data storage needs.

When asked about the impacts of permanently losing data, over a quarter (27%) believe they would go out of business. SME owners also said the loss of critical data would impede their business growth (38%), damage their professional reputation (35%), lead to regulatory consequences (32%), contribute to employee attrition (31%) and result in the loss of some of their customers (29%).

Despite the prevalence of cybercrime and data loss, just 5% of Irish SMEs back up their data in real-time, with nearly three quarters (72%) reporting that their data backup frequency is once per week or less. The research shows around a fifth (21%) of small businesses don’t have a tested Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place in the event of data theft or loss. In addition, 43% admitted they don’t have a secure copy of their data held offsite. The vast majority of business owners are concerned about being a cybercrime target, yet many still don’t seem to be taking the necessary steps to improve their protection. While threat detection and prevention are important parts of the cybersecurity puzzle, they don’t solve it alone. Data backup is a vital component and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. With almost three quarters of firms only backing up their data weekly or even less, this presents a huge challenge for businesses to maintain continuity after an incident.

In the likely event of a cyberattack, a robust backup and business continuity solution is the last line of defence and enables most businesses to recover quickly from business-critical data loss. Put simply, data cannot be recovered if it isn’t backed up effectively to begin with.

83% state that they have plans to increase their level of outsourced IT to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) over the coming year. Nearly a third (32%) attribute this decision to a need to address cybersecurity shortcomings in the face of the cybercrime risk, while 36% cited the need to access a wider range of expert IT skills and knowledge.

Nicholas O’ Donovan, Sales Manager, Datto Ireland, said:

The pandemic has permanently changed the way many organisations work, fundamentally altering where data is created and stored. A more dispersed workforce creates a larger network threat perimeter, which increases the risk of cyberattack. Wherever the data lives, be it in an on-premises server or in the cloud, it needs to be backed up with the highest frequency possible in a way that allows instant restoration for when disaster strikes

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