Over a third of Data Protection professionals admit to a data breach in the past 12 months, ICS survey concludes

A third of data protection professionals within Ireland have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months – this is according to a survey carried out by the Irish Computer Society in December 2015. The survey was completed by approximately 150 of the country’s top data protection professionals. The results of the survey can be found by clicking the link provided.

The nationwide survey aimed to gather and review professional opinions within data protection, ultimately contributing to the development of the field in Ireland.

The survey results were available to view at ADPO’s National Data Protection Conference on January 27th and 28th, adding hard facts to what remains an uncertain landscape for cybersecurity in 2016. The results are also available on request by e-mailing

The survey contains many noteworthy statistics. For data safety and security, 45% of respondents still claimed that employee negligence was the biggest threat, followed by external attackers and end user devices containing sensitive data.

For data protection knowledge, 57% said that formal training was the best approach. The level of training has improved since 2015, with 56% saying they have received the right level of training to meet their organisation’s objectives.

Although 87% have an information security policy in place, 33% have experienced a data breach within the past 12 months, with most (71%) being caused inadvertently by staff members.

Lastly, ahead of the implementation of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, the majority do not feel fully prepared for it, with just 40% taking measures to adapt.

Lanre Oluwatona, Data Protection Consultant at ICS, comments:

“This survey marks the next important step in creating an objective body of knowledge to work from within the field. Data protection, privacy and cyber security are topics that are constantly evolving, each with its own challenges, so statistics of this kind are vital in helping organisations adapt to changing needs.”

The survey has been running for several years, with plenty of interesting trends emerging. At ICS, we are always trying to innovate based on the data we collect, in the hope that professionals in the field will become more aware and knowledgeable of the risks and cyber threats that remain at large. It also enables us to better design our training programmes to suit the needs of our students.

The National Data Protection Conference

The Association of Data Protection Officers hosted its National Data Protection Conference on January 27th and January 28th in Ballsbridge. Based on feedback from 2015, this year’s conference took place over two days. Day 1 consisted of workshops covering important topics like data breaches, new EU regulations and subject access requests. Day 2 had expert presentations and panels from some of the biggest names in the industry including Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner and Giovanni Buttarelli, EU Data Protection Supervisor.

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