Hackers are on the loose, but endpoints in Ireland are very well-protected

By Arun Kumar, Regional Director at ManageEngine 

Witnessing a competitive advantage in the global market, Ireland continues to contribute steadily to the global economy. After facing its share of scams and attacks, the country has marched idealistically towards adopting a defensive, centralised cybersecurity approach. Though evading cyberattacks entirely is impossible, at least for now, organisations in Ireland are consistently implementing cybersecurity watchdogs and strategies at the forefront.

Hackers cause issues in Ireland

An unforeseen collapse in systems occurred across the globe in 2020 due to the pandemic. Ireland had its share of setbacks as well. In addition to the disruptions caused by remote work systems, the country has also experienced cyberattacks via several other avenues.

For example, the Conti ransomware attack on the Health Service Executive of Ireland almost immobilised the nation’s healthcare system by restricting access to medical records, allowing the exfiltration of unencrypted data, and increasing the financial costs of operations.

Even before the pandemic, the country faced vulnerabilities, such as a phishing scam reported by Dublin Zoo in 2017, when a contractor’s email was compromised by threat actors, resulting in a €500,000 loss. This was a turning point in Ireland’s approach to cybersecurity.

Since Ireland is home to some of the top tech companies across the globe, Irish businesses know it’s important to set up cybersecurity systems and protect their IT infrastructures from major attacks.

Key strategies they have adopted include the following:

Irish companies have adopted the practice of sending fake phishing emails to their employees from time to time to monitor the responses. No job can be done without human intervention. Thus, the majority of businesses have implemented mandatory cybersecurity training sessions after recognising the importance of providing employees with training. Businesses also track and analyse the time it takes for employees to complete a specific cybersecurity session, which provides a snapshot of the acquired cybersecurity knowledge.

One of the most serious threats to small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) is the cost of recovering from a cyberattack. According to a Typetec survey, “33% of SMEs in Ireland have paid ransoms, with 74% of these having done so on multiple occasions.” In response, Irish SMEs are employing protective encryption protocols, authentication setups, and robust privileged account management, which are ideal for preventing the loss of sensitive data. SMEs are also gaining visibility over access permissions and granular insights to keep IT blind spots at bay.

Irish companies know that in order to best mitigate security threats, they need to embrace a Zero Trust approach. Zero Trust is a built-in practice of restricting access by managing endpoint privileges.

Irish businesses have found that the best ways to deal with identity- and access-based risks are to use two-factor authentication, implement the principle of least privilege, and, most importantly, make employees and executives aware of the possible threats.

As mentioned in a Hiscox report, Irish companies are more likely to be affected by phishing, replacing unpatched servers as the most likely entry points in cyberattacks. Though attacks through unpatched servers are decreasing compared to phishing attacks, missing failed patches could allow the entry of threat actors attempting to breach sensitive information. Thus, companies are investing in automated patch deployment to combat misconfigurations and save time.

Based on recent research, 48% of Irish businesses plan to increase their investments in cybersecurity, while cyber insurance is also being increasingly embraced. The country knows it’s important to set up cybersecurity systems and protect its IT infrastructures from major attacks. As a result, the nation is wisely investing in cybersecurity solutions for the future.

To bring about a positive outcome, cybersecurity must be driven as a perpetual practice rather than a one-off task. The evolving industry trends and work landscape demand a proactive approach, without a doubt. And, the workforce must stay aware to stay ahead of hackers’ interventions at all times.

Author’s Bio:

Arun Kumar J is a regional director at ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation. He has been working with ManageEngine since 2003. In his current role, he leads all channel and partner-related initiatives for the company in both the United Kingdom (UK) and Asia Pacific (APAC) markets. With almost two decades global experience in enterprise IT, Arun has a deep knowledge and peer network in the IT management industry.

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