Microsoft report reveals poor NI cyber-security habits

  • Almost half of tech employees in Northern Ireland lack up-to-date cyber-security training, according to a new report by Microsoft.

    The cyber-security industry in Northern Ireland is booming, but outside of those firms the level of cyber-security awareness and training leaves much to be desired. A persistent lack of cyber-security training and poor employee habits are opening Northern Ireland's tech companies and other businesses to potential cyber-attacks and costly data breaches.

    The new report by Microsoft details some pretty scary statistics on Northern Ireland's security awareness, with almost half (43%) of employees admitting to getting no security training in the last 12 months. Around 36% of NI staff have experienced problems with phishing, hacking, or digital fraud that weren't caught by their company's existing security measures.

    Password re-use was highlighted as another major problem, with 46% of people admitting to re-using the same passwords more than once and many using the same passwords for work and personal purposes. If you use your work password on a website or personal computer that is then hacked, your work account could be compromised and your company could pay the price.

    In today's world of GDPR and data protection regulation, any data breach that leaks personal information of clients could cost a business millions of pounds in fines and do serious damage to the company's reputation. Around 10% of staff working from home admitted that they had accidentally shared work material with personal friends and family, and 21% have plugged a non-work USB drive into their work PC. Worse still, around a third of employees use their personal email for work-related activities and some are storing customer information there, a clear data protection violation.

    The research was conducted across 700 employees working in large Irish and Northern Irish organisations employing over 100 staff, with a mix of public and private sector respondents. It highlights the need for regular cyber-security training for staff in all sectors of the economy, and frequent audits to ensure that security policies are being adhered to.

    Source: Written based on press release

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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