Almost 60% of small businesses hacked last year: MNP

Breach-related expenses to soar as new data hacking disclosure rules come into effect.

February 27, 2017   by PLANT STAFF

CALGARY – Almost 60% of Canadian small business owners and C-suite executives say external hackers accessed their confidential business information over the past year, according to an MNP LLP survey.

Conducted by Ipsos for the national accounting, tax and business consulting firm, the survey revealed the respondents suspect or know for certain that they were victimized by external hackers in the last year.

“It is a reality of doing business now: hackers will get in,” warns Greg Draper, former RCMP investigator and now vice-president of valuations, forensics and litigation support at MNP. “Canadian businesses are poorly equipped to deal with cyber-attacks.”

Eighty per cent of the respondents are confident their businesses can prevent an external online hacker attempting to obtain or block access to confidential information; and 93% feel confident they are effectively protecting customer data.

But Draper contends there is a significant gap between how they perceive their readiness and the number of data breaches that occur. He says businesses are not adapting their prevention and detection strategies at the same rate as the sophistication of the hackers and their attacks quickly evolve.

Only a little more than half of the companies apply cyber security measures such as firewalls.

“It’s a startling finding. I think some still see it as discretionary spending, rather than a necessity. But this way of thinking is going to change drastically as cyber-attacks continue to escalate in frequency and severity,” Draper says.

He warns breach-related expenses will escalate as changes to Canadian privacy law requires them to log and disclose all breaches, which will add costs as a result of the disruptions to business or loss of confidential information.

The survey was conducted Jan. 17–26 and is accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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