Aon’s Survey Finds 1 in 5 Firms in Ireland Experienced a Cyber Attack Last Year

Aon plc today released figures that reveal that most senior business leaders in Ireland plan to increase investment in cyber security and resilience in the coming years amid the evolving cyber risks facing Irish firms.

The survey of 228 senior business leaders from companies across Ireland reveals that 18 per cent of Irish firms experienced a cyber-attack or data breach in 2022. Large companies with more than 250 employees are more at risk, with 21 per cent of firms facing an attack last year compared to 9 per cent of SMEs.

Companies have taken steps in the past year to strengthen their cyber resilience and preparedness, with 38 per cent having enhanced their data recovery and backup systems and 35 per cent having provided cyber security training to employees. This represents a slight decrease from levels seen in 2021 when 40 per cent of employees were provided with cyber security training.

Given the ever-changing cyber landscape, over two-thirds of Irish firms (67 per cent) plan to invest more in cyber security and resilience in the coming years. Seventy-two percent of firms with more than 250 employees are due to increase their spending on cyber security measures.

The survey also points to the growing dominance of cyber threats on an organisation’s risk register. According to the findings, cyber is now the fourth biggest business risk facing Irish organisations today.

Karl Curran, Head of Aon’s Cyber Solutions Ireland and Nordics, said: “Our figures show that cyber resilience is very much front and centre of Irish business leaders’ concerns. As the fourth biggest risk facing Irish organisations today, and with one in five firms being disrupted by a cyber-attack last year, business leaders are acutely aware of the enormity of the risk that cyber-attacks present and the need to plan accordingly.

However, far too often, successfully managing cyber risk only becomes a priority after a cyber incident has occurred. Despite the majority of Irish firms planning to invest more in cyber security and resilience in the coming years, more than a quarter of Irish business leaders don’t have any plans to invest more in cyber security and resilience in the near future.

“Amidst an increasingly complex business environment, business and IT leaders are under increasing pressure to make smart security investments. And the truth is there is no one straight line approach to cyber security. It is a continuous journey focused on building resilience.

“At Aon Ireland, we encourage leaders to review their cyber security posture and take a strategic approach to managing cyber risk that is informed by data. This begins by assessing the cyber risk landscape, identifying the ways in which your IT team can mitigate challenges, transferring risk out of the business and, when faced with a crisis, recovering with speed. By taking a data-driven, circular approach to cyber resilience, business and IT leaders can come together to make better decisions that protect the future of their organisation and its people.”

To help business leaders on this journey, Aon’s Cyber Loop is a model for sustained cyber resilience that recognises the growing concern around cyber threats and supports businesses on their journey of investment. Comprising four main stages – assess, mitigate, transfer and recover – the Cyber Loop supports business leaders to maximise return on cyber security investment and become an informed participant in managing risk.

The four main stages of Aon’s Cyber Loop are:

Assess

A thorough assessment of an organisation’s cyber risks will ensure that they are better informed and in a better position to agree on an appropriate risk strategy.

Mitigate

Bridge the gap between understanding the technical risk of an identified vulnerability and the related financial exposure to inform decisions that can enhance security maturity and maximise return on security investment.

Transfer

Despite a rising tide in cyber governance, losses still emanate from human error, system failure or security failure. Aon’s experts help businesses to identify, quantify and transfer cyber risk into the insurance market.

Recover

Aon’s team of experts are experienced in maximising possible recovery of costs and working towards a cashflow neutral position.

To learn more about Aon’s Cyber Loop, visit https://www.aon.com/cyber-solutions/thinking/the-cyber-loop-a-model-for-sustained-cyber-resilience/.