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Business in Vancouver

Canadian companies woefully behind in cybersecurity according to survey

'Either start taking these threats seriously, or start looking for a hole to crawl into' say analysts

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2016, 2:23am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2016, 12:00pm

A survey of 2,200 companies across 18 countries has found that Canadian companies are among the least equipped to deal with cyber threats.

The study ranks 18 countries based on the per cent of businesses that are adopters of effective modern cybersecurity procedures and technology. On a list of 18 countries Canada was number 15, ahead of only the Netherlands, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

“We’re moving from theft, which is costly, to potential catastrophe. There are forces at play now that aren’t satisfied with just stealing your money, they want to destroy your entity. You can either start taking these threats seriously, or start looking for a hole to crawl into. Ignorance is no longer bliss,” said Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at the computer consulting firm Enterprise Strategy Group.

The technology market research firm Vanson Bourne was contracted by the data storage company EMC to conduct the study. Vanson Bourne surveyed 100 Canadian companies and found that the majority of companies were “laggards” when it comes to adopting appropriate cybersecurity technologies. 

Vanson Bourne found that 52 per cent of Canadian companies surveyed had experienced unplanned system downtime sometime over the last 12 months. On average the unplanned downtime cost Canadian companies C$414,000 (US$321,248).

The survey also found that 34 per cent of respondents suffered data loss in the last 12 months, which cost companies an average of C$799,000 (US$619,994).

Out of the instances of data loss or system down time 29 per cent were a result of a security breach.

“I think CEOs themselves don’t understand the ramifications of having little or no security on the cyber side. There was a recent study in the states that said 90 per cent of CEOs don’t seem to feel cybersecurity is their responsibility, and of course they’re dead wrong,” said Dale Jackaman, president of Vancouver-based Amuleta Computer Security.

According to Jackaman, Canada is “dead last” when it comes to cybersecurity in the western world. Jackaman, who originally started Amuleta as a cybersecurity firm to help businesses, had to change his entire business model because of a lack of demand from Canadian companies.