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SMEs Still Exposed To Cyber Crime

Irish businesses are maintaining an open-door policy for cyber criminals with time on their hands, judging by the latest online security study.

Aon Risk Solutions undertook the research based on inputs from over 1,200 companies through its cyber diagnostic tool, the results of which were published at a conference held by the firm this week.

Aon found that 92% of Irish companies are exposed to cyber risk, whether through third-party security issues, lax security management or failure to keep abreast of developments in the IT sector.

Sarah Stephens, head of cyber risk and commercial E&O with Aon Risk Solutions, says the increasing reliance on cloud computing, big data and social media among businesses brings with it a heightened risk of cyber-crime attacks.

“While technical innovation is a great thing that can benefit everyone, it can also be damaging if a company's policies and procedures do not change to keep pace with the potential exposure that the use of new technology can bring to a company or an individual.”

Aon calculates that 72% of Irish companies are exposed to cyber risk through use of third parties, while 22% of firms here have been subjected to data breaches in last 12 months.

Further, two thirds of Irish companies allow employees to access confidential company files through their own devices, while only 22% at board or management level are actively addressing cyber-risk management.

Says Stephens: “The diversity of threats is increasing – from the loss of control of data through the use of outsourcing, to the growing proficiency of hackers and malicious individuals, as well as the constant risk of human error in an organisation.

“One area where we consistently find a weakness is that companies are allowing individuals to send sensitive data to their personal devices. They are doing this without investing in the right kind of training, leaving both themselves and the employee exposed.” (September 2014)

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