Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape in Ireland: 2023 Insights and Actions

Kieran McCorry

Kieran McCorry

National Technology Officer

Read Time, 3 min.

In the fast-evolving cyber landscape in Ireland, organisations are susceptible and vulnerable to attack, as highlighted by our new ‘Cybersecurity Trends in Ireland 2023’ report. This exploration of the experiences of c-suite executives operating in Ireland delves into the nuanced realm of cybersecurity trends in 2023, shedding light on prevalent challenges, emerging technologies, and the imperative need for proactive measures.

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities persist across Irish industries, exacerbated by the absence of comprehensive defence strategies. While there’s a commendable adoption of cybersecurity training, the true resilience demanded by the evolving threat landscape necessitates ongoing investments in technological solutions. Our report reveals that 46% of respondents have faced cyber incidents in the last three years, with 30% experiencing data breaches. Strikingly, only 14% reported incidents to regulatory bodies.

Despite these challenges, 74% of organisations haven’t reduced their cybersecurity spend, and 57% conduct regular cybersecurity training. However, a significant gap exists in strategic processes, with just 44% performing risk assessments and 38% employing a multi-layered defence strategy. The study also points to a potential complacency, with 26% of organisations indicating a lack of IT security infrastructure investment planned for the coming year.

Artificial Intelligence as a Cybersecurity Enabler

While the adoption of AI technologies to support defensive strategies is slow – just 14% of executives say they are using AI as part of their cybersecurity strategy, while a further 30% say they are unsure if they are in fact using AI technologies – ‘Cybersecurity Trends in Ireland 2023’ underscores the rising significance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity.

AI technologies offer a potent defence against cyber threats by swiftly analysing vast data sets. Notably, the successful use of AI in Ukraine against cyberattacks sets a precedent for the role of innovation in cybersecurity.

However, the integration of AI comes with its own set of challenges. Security teams grapple with managing disparate tools and a scarcity of skilled talent. Microsoft’s recent strides in unifying incident experiences through Microsoft Sentinel, Microsoft Defender XDR, and Microsoft Security Copilot mark a significant leap toward cohesive and efficient cybersecurity strategies.

Regulation and Compliance

A concerning revelation from the study is the lack of awareness among Irish executives regarding upcoming legislation, NIS2 (Network and Information Security 2), and DORA. Scheduled for implementation in October 2024, NIS2 will impact 18 sectors and over 180,000 companies across the EU. Despite its potential to strengthen cybersecurity postures, more than 70% of leaders are either unaware or unprepared for compliance.

This lack of awareness extends to the majority being unsure about their organisations having investment or a roadmap for NIS2 compliance. The directive mandates a baseline of minimum-security measures for digital service providers and operators of essential services, highlighting the urgency for Irish organisations to prepare for its implications.

Building Cyber Resilience Through Collective Defence

As cyber threats become more sophisticated globally, organisations must accelerate their shift to the cloud, where security innovations can have the most impact. Public-private collaboration is emphasised as a key focus in our report, urging organisations to forge deeper alliances within the private sector and establish stronger partnerships with the public sector.

In Ireland, collaborative efforts with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), industry, and academia create a robust ecosystem. However, the study underscores the need for strategic methods in cyber defence, integrating new technologies like AI for intelligent threat prediction and prevention.

The cybersecurity landscape in Ireland for 2023 is marked by both progress and challenges. While organisations demonstrate commitment through continued investments and training, a crucial need exists for comprehensive strategies, AI integration, and proactive compliance with impending regulations. As cyber threats evolve, the call for collective defence and innovative resilience measures becomes more urgent than ever. Irish organisations need to stay vigilant and adaptable in the face of an ever-changing digital frontier.

Cybersecurity Trends in Ireland 2023

A report by Microsoft Ireland exploring C-suite perspectives on cybersecurity threats and resilience in Ireland in 2023.

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