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CITEA: One in four Cyprus businesses have fallen victim to cyberattacks

About one in four businesses have fallen victim to some form of cyberattack according to a survey the Cyprus Information Technology Enterprises Association (CITEA), the results of which were presented in Nicosia recently.

During the same event, CITEA also presented the ‘CITEA INDEX,’ its initiative for an index that captures the digital preparedness of businesses in Cyprus. According to the results of this index, today, almost 60% of businesses in Cyprus are either in the initial stages or have now begun to learn about the tools available for digital transformation.

The ‘Digital Cyprus Survey 2023’ survey was conducted in June 2023 by the University of Nicosia’s IMR research organisation, with CITEA and Capacitor Partners as scientific partners. The sample size was 500 companies and data collection was done through an online platform and telephone interviews using a structured questionnaire.

The results were presented by the Managing Director of IMR, Christina Kokkalou, and the Managing Director of the technology consulting company Capacitor Partners, Michael Tyrimos.

According to the results of the survey conducted among companies in the technology sector, 97% of respondents said they consider cyber security technologies and tactics quite/very important, compared to 89% in last year's survey.

In addition, 26% of businesses said they have experienced a cyberattack, while 88% of businesses reported taking steps to counter such attacks, a huge increase from last year when just 39% said they had taken such steps.

The most popular practices for dealing with cyberattacks include regular security audits and assessments (79%), implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems (75%), and ongoing employee training and awareness (70%).

Also, 85% of businesses reported that they intend to invest in the digital transformation of the business within the next year, with 24% having set aside up to €10,000 for this purpose, 46% from €11,000-€100,000, and 14% over €100,000.

Collaboration with industry experts and continuous learning and skills development are ways for 6 in 10 businesses to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital transformation, the survey results indicate. Also, 6 out of 10 companies have progressed to a large or sufficient extent with digital skills training, while at the same time, 66% of businesses have involved staff to a large or sufficient extent in their digital transformation.

In addition, 76% of businesses cite strengthening the digital skills of their staff as one of the biggest challenges to the transition of the business to the new digital age.

According to the conclusions of the research, eight out of 10 companies foresee increased efficiency and productivity as well as continuous adaptation and development for the future of the company after the implementation of the digital transformation, while all the companies that have used digital technologies consider that they have brought about positive results in their business. As the most popular methods for measuring the effects of digital transformation, key performance indicators were evaluated, as well as the evaluation of the company's own personnel.


According to the findings of the CITEA INDEX, the results of which have been derived with a formula based on the answers given by the companies to the questions of the Digital Cyprus Survey 2023, only 11.3% are classified in the highest level - "Leader" - which concerns pioneering companies in the use of digital technologies but also determine trends in digital transformation.

The index ranks companies in five tiers based on where they are in their digital transformation journey.

Specifically, 30.2% are in the first level, "Beginner", (just starting with the digital transformation), 27.4% are in the "Explorer" stage (experimenting and learning digital tools), 18.6% are classified in the next level, "Competent" (have good understanding and use of digital technologies) and 12.5% ​​are in the fourth tier, “Transformer” (actively innovate and optimise digital processes).

CITEA INDEX declared a "Very useful tool"

The importance of the CITEA index, the difficulties faced by businesses in Cyprus to find staff with IT expertise, and the country's digital transformation were some of the topics discussed after the presentation.

The President of CITEA, Demetris Nisiotis, stated among other things that the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) ranks Cyprus last in the EU and that the CITEA INDEX confirms these results, noting that the CITEA INDEX is a very useful tool to assess the level of utilisation of digital technology and a good opportunity to strengthen the technology sector in Cyprus.

He also mentioned the lack of specialised staff in the IT sector in Cyprus and the lack of interest in such professions among young people. He said that CITEA, in collaboration with the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, are organising a retraining program where 15 unemployed graduates, with non-IT degrees, will be selected to retrain in analytics technology.

He also asked the Government to choose domestic companies for the upgrade of state digital services, which, as he said had, "thirst to develop", instead of ones from abroad, as is usually done, so that the knowledge of these projects remains in the country.

Chief Scientist for Research, Innovation and Technology Chief Scientist for Research & Innovation Demetris Skourides, commenting on the results of the index, noted that we have a long way to go to take advantage of digital reform and transformation and that the Index has the ingredients to measure and to help the Cypriot economy and the sector.

He noted that transformation is a continuous journey and expressed the belief that the skills set and capabilities that exist in Cyprus can help towards this.

On the broader transformation of the country, Skourides said that a transformation is needed that will use all the tools we have today to create a platform from which all our systems will be able to become smarter.

Commissioner of Communications George Michaelides, also commenting on the importance of cyber security, expressed the belief that it is not only 26% of businesses that have suffered a cyberattack, since there are also many who do not report cyberattacks, for various reasons, and also many more who have been attacked but did not realise it.

He said he believes it could be more than 50% who were cyberattacked.

CITEA participation in the Level Up project

The General Secretary of CITEA, George Malekkos, also presented the European Level Up programme in which CITEA participates together with 12 partners throughout the European Union. The aim of the project is to empower the workforce of European SMEs with digital skills through the development and delivery of short-term, high-quality and industry-oriented training courses.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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