The Most Common Cyber Risks Facing Irish SME’s

The Most Common Cyber Risks Facing Irish SME’s

Updated February 2021.

For any business that uses the internet or collects and stores electronic data, regardless of the business size, the risk of cyber attack poses an everyday threat. To put the risk of cyber attack into perspective, 42.8 million cyber security incidents were detected worldwide and 62% of all cyber attacks target small to medium-sized businesses in 2015.

While newspaper articles largely focus on cyber attacks on large businesses and high profile individuals, the threat of cyber attack on small and medium-sized businesses is very real.

With that in mind, we have developed a quick guide to the most common cyber security risks facing Irish businesses and how cyber insurance can help protect your business.

Cyber Security Threats

Lost & Stolen Devices

More and more of our work tasks are now being completed from mobile devices such as phones, laptops and tablets. Since such devices are often used outside of the work environment, the risk of theft or loss is high. In fact, recent research shows around 13o mobile phones are stolen each week in Ireland with less than 10% recovered.

With the increase of stolen phones comes the danger that any data stored on misplaced or stolen devices can be easily compromised, potentially placing your business and clients in danger of hacking or some other form of data breach.


Spam and junk e-mails constantly manage to find their way to businesses’ main inboxes and they seem to appear more and more genuine all the time. If such an e-mail is opened unintentionally, you could be opening the way to a third party accessing your data, leaving you and your business exposed.

In addition, using auto-fill forms may save time, but they can also easily result in security breaches. If you’re discussing a sensitive matter in an email, the last thing you want to do is accidentally send it to the wrong person. Unfortunately, this is an easy mistake to make and indeed, one most of us have committed at least once.

Outsourcing Tasks

Outsourcing tasks is increasingly common, with many companies seeking outside help on at least one project a year. However, while doing so allows managers and employees more time to focus on other tasks, it can also present a threat to data security.

According to a report undertaken by PwC, hiring service providers, consultants and contractors can present one of the highest cyber security risks. For example, there is a risk that outsourced personnel may fail to comply with a firm’s data security measures and inadvertently or otherwise allow undesirable sources access to its data.


While your computers may have ample firewall protection, printers and copiers are often overlooked. In fact, Columbia University completed two studies on how easy it was for hackers to exploit these devices’ weaknesses in a cyber attack.

Additionally, if you are replacing your current printer or photocopier systems, you should ensure to wipe the hard drives clean before you dispose of them, to ensure that no private data can be retrieved from them afterward.


Hacking is perhaps the most common cyber risk facing SMEs and is of particular concern if you are storing clients’ private data on your systems. However, customer confidentiality isn’t the only part of your business at risk from hacking.

Hackers can also damage your website and delete archived information you may need to facilitate orders or sales and conduct your everyday business. A reputable firewall is an absolute necessity on all I.T. systems and your company website to provide vital protection against hacking.

How can Cyber Insurance help?


If your business has suffered financially due to a cyber attack, whether it has resulted in lost sales due to website downtime or a potential legal suit due to a breach in client confidentiality, it can be expensive to repair the damage. Cyber insurance ensures you are financially protected in such situations and ensures that a cyber attack does not threaten the survival of the business you have worked so hard to build.

Professional Help

If you believe your I.T. systems have been compromised, cyber insurance can help to cover the cost of contracting forensic experts to examine your system and trace any breaches. This allows you to ensure your systems are secure and helps prevent future incidents.

We hope this guide helps you understand the real threat of cyber attacks on small and medium-sized businesses and the importance of cyber insurance. For more information on the area of cyber insurance, contact the expert OBF team today.


Other useful cyber insurance news items:

The Top 3 Cyber Threats in 2017

4 simple reasons why you should have Cyber Insurance

Cyber Insurance, A Business Essential?

How to Insure your Business against Cyber Security Risks

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