In today’s data-driven world, cyber security is more important than ever. Despite the uncertainty of recent times, businesses and organisations in Ireland are still transforming at speed.
Technology remains at the very centre of Government efforts to foster innovation and economic growth. The latest national digital strategy sets out a range of ambitious targets to ensure that three in four Irish businesses adopt Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Cloud by 2030. 90% of services are also due to be consumed online by the end of the decade.
While these targets are welcome and, moreover, necessary to make sure Ireland harnesses the full potential of the very latest technologies, it’s also the case that an increase in digitalisation brings with it a corresponding increase in the threat of cyber-attacks.
Evolving cyber threats
Over the past year, we have seen several high-profile cyber incidents here in Ireland that reinforce the need for small and large businesses across the public and private sector in Ireland to enhance their cyber resilience. Indeed, in 2022 alone, the total cost of cybercrime.
As cyber-crime becomes more prevalent so do the sorts of attacks levelled at businesses become more insidious. The Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned about an increase in ransomware attacks against small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) over the past few months. In recent weeks, the National Cybersecurity Coordination and Development Centre has been created to help strengthen SME cyber resilience.
The problem is that the ability to protect an organisation’s data has become increasingly difficult with some SMEs overwhelmed. A shift to hybrid working has given malicious actors new opportunities to target vulnerable remote workers while phishing attacks and email thread hijacking have been on the rise.
Business leaders are beginning to react, with nine in ten business leaders now recognising the vital importance of building the cyber resiliency of their firm. From Zero Trust frameworks for the verification, assurance and protection of data to robust response and data recovery plans, Irish leaders are turning to new technologies and new technology models to strengthen their cyber security.
Importance of culture
However, cybersecurity is just as much, if not more, about people than technology.
In tandem with technology solutions, there needs to be a cultural shift within businesses that recognises the importance of cyber security. This comes from the top of the organisation and filters through down to all levels and departments.
Business leaders are actually the first line of defence. By setting the tone and the culture for cyber resilience within an organisation, leaders play a vital role in putting cyber security at the very heart of business strategy and workforce development.
A key component of this is influencing employee behaviour around cyber resilience in the workplace – empowering their people with the latest training and skills to become role models and champions of the best cyber security practices.
While the latest intelligent tools and data protection services will always play a critical role, they are just one key part of an overall strategy that recognises how everyone within the business needs to work together to ward off cyber threats.
Whole of organisation approach
This particularly applies to those teams who are developing new products or services. By integrating cyber security into both their products and practices, these teams can help to close the loop on cyber security for their own business and that of their customers.
In this way, leaders can better embrace a comprehensive approach to cyber risk mitigation that goes beyond mere threat detection. Rather, they can ensure that cyber security plays an integral role in an organisation’s overall business strategy from the very beginning and is considered in any future digital transformation initiatives.
At Dell Technologies, we’re seeing more organisations across both the private and public sector treat cyber security as an integral component of their overall digital transformation strategy. When setting out to build a consistent digital learning experience for its 34,000 students and staff in a hybrid world, Ulster University tapped into Dell’s team of cyber experts to enhance its cyber resilience.
Protecting Ireland’s most critical data
With AI, 5G and Edge Computing developing at pace, Ireland has a unique opportunity to become a world leader in a range of emerging technologies. However, if we are to reach our 2030 digital targets, we need to continually ward off the latest cyber threats and protect Ireland’s reputation as a digital hub both in Europe and beyond.
At Dell Technologies, we are continually working to help Ireland remain one step ahead of cyber threats. Through a €2m investment in our new Customer Solutions Centre in Cork, we’re looking to provide the essential infrastructure for organisations to protect their most important information assets and help strengthen the city’s location as a cyber security hub.
But, as cyber threats become more sophisticated and costly, business leaders need to become the front line of defence on this journey.
That means placing a strong focus on building a culture where cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and where their people have the skills to enhance cyber resilience within their organisation. By fostering that culture, leaders of large, medium and small businesses can not only protect themselves against the increasing threat of cyber-attacks but can reduce business disruption and recover more quickly “when” and not “if” an attack occurs in the weeks and months ahead.