Cyber crime among ‘top three threats facing businesses this year’ says Grant Thornton.

Cyber crime continues to be a major cost for businesses
Cyber crime continues to be a major cost for businesses Cyber crime continues to be a major cost for businesses

CYBER-attacks are among the top three threats facing businesses, according to research from Grant Thornton.

Indeed the cost of cyber crime is expected to hit an eye-watering $8 trillion this year, according to US cyber researcher Cybersecurity Ventures.

The research found that 47 per cent of mid-market business leaders now list a cyber-attack as a threat to their business for the coming year.

But despite this, many Irish organisations remain unprepared for such an event.

“Cyber threats have escalated significantly in recent years and will continue to do so,” according to Mike Harris, cyber and forensics partner at Grant Thornton.

“Coupled with increasing digitalisation, this rise means that organisations are more likely than ever to have to deal with a major cyber-attack.

“Unfortunately though, many Irish organisations remain unprepared. They see cyber as a purely technological issue and not as a business risk that demands senior management and board attention.”

He added: “Business leaders need to understand the cyber risk, implement basic cyber hygiene and culture across the business, manage the security of suppliers and practice the response to a cyber-attack.

“If senior management drives these steps, it will go a long way towards protecting the organisation. And remember, you’re not just protecting yourself: you’re also protecting your customers and business partners.”

Another top three risks for businesses globally this year is inflation, as cited by over half (51 per cent) of mid-market business leaders.

That concern is even greater amongst Irish businesses, 65 per cent of whom cite inflation as a threat to their businesses.

Although the global economy has shown resilience through recent challenges, the cost of living, increased energy bills and rising interest rates continue to affect both businesses and consumers.

Andrew Webb, chief economist at Grant Thornton said: “While inflation rates do finally appear to be reducing, it remains a concern for businesses - much higher in Ireland than the global average.

“Connected to this concern, 69 per cent of Irish businesses identified energy costs as a threat, making it the highest ranked threat by business leaders and underscoring that any economic optimism is still accompanied by a sense of caution.”