Research conducted by iReach Insights on behalf of Google has found that the majority of SMEs (77%) agree that having a secure online presence is a priority for their business, with 42% strongly agreeing that it is a priority. However, only 20% are very aware of the specific measures or tools required to protect their data/ digital assets while 64% know a little but not much.
When it comes to protecting their website and digital assets, the research shows that just over a half of SMEs regularly back-up data (54%), ensure software is updated (53%), and use two step authentication for accessing common owned devices (53%).
Despite the fact that a strong majority of Irish SMEs readily recognise the benefits of having a secure online presence, less than half of SMEs require employees to periodically change passwords (44%) or take regular or annual security awareness training (38%). Even less (28%) have an incident response plan in case of a cyberattack.
When it comes to how cyber security is managed, 38% of SMEs have their cybersecurity managed in-house, 25% have it outsourced, while 37% have a mix of both. Interestingly, the 38% of SMEs that have their cybersecurity managed in-house express the highest levels of satisfaction at 70%. The 37% of SMEs that have a mix of both In-House and Outsourcing, show the lowest satisfaction levels at 53%.
The findings were published as Google added a new module, ‘Improve your online business security’, to the You’re the Business initiative, a digital training scheme to help upskill Irish SMEs. Launched in July 2022 by Google, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, You’re the Business aims to accelerate Irish SME growth through digitalisation in the form of tailored, free of charge online training as well as an SME reward programme.
Marie Davis, Head of SME Retail, UK and Ireland, Google said: “Google is very proud of the You’re the Business initiative and how it has helped Irish businesses initiate, grow, and expand their digital capabilities over the last twelve months. We are introducing a new cyber security module as our research informs us that while Irish SMEs understand the importance of cyber security, they are not always aware of the measures required to protect their data and digital assets. Designed by Google experts, this online training program will better protect SMEs from the growing threat of cyberattack”.
John Magee, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “Cybersecurity has been identified as a key area of both threat and growth in the coming years. It is vital that small businesses understand that, particularly those that have a significant online presence. As sustainability has become a pillar for many small businesses, so should cybersecurity and it is fantastic that we can now offer that expertise to every small business across the country through our partnership with Google and the You’re the Business initiative. This is another area where we are expanding our approach to ensure small businesses are getting the support they need from their Local Enterprise Office.
Carol Gibbons, Head of Regions and Local Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland, said; “The You’re the Business Campaign in partnership with Google and the Local Enterprise Offices has helped us to significantly increase our offerings to small business in the areas of digitization. In recent years trading online has become crucial for many businesses and it has also opened doors to new markets internationally. This brings opportunity but also significant exposure for businesses to threats such as cyber-crime. This new element of the initiative is the perfect first step for businesses to enhance their cybersecurity protocols.”
With the addition of the ‘Improve your online business security’ module today, SMEs can now access [ four modules that can help SME decision makers understand and grow their digital capabilities. All training is accessed through the You’re The Business website.
All training modules including the cyber training are available on-demand online. For further information please visit: g.co/yourethebusiness