Approximately one in four businesses have fallen victim to some form of cyber attack according to the survey by the Cyprus IT Business Association (CITEA), the results of which were presented on Wednesday night in Nicosia.>
CITEA also presented the “CITEA INDEX”, an initiative of his for an index that will capture the digital readiness of businesses in Cyprus. According to the results of this index, today, almost 60% of businesses in Cyprus are either in the early stages or have now begun to learn about the tools available for digital transformation.
The survey « Digital Cyprus Survey 2023″.was conducted in June by the IMR Research Organization of the University of Nicosia, with scientific partners CITEA and Capacitor 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 IMR CEO Christina Kokkalou and the CEO of the consulting company. technology Capacitor Partners, Michalis Tyrimos.
According to the results of the survey carried out among enterpriseson the technology front, 97% of respondents said they consider cybersecurity technologies and tactics fairly/very important, compared to 89% in last year's survey.
In addition, 26% of businesses said they have been the subject of a cyberattack, while 88% of businesses reported taking steps to counter such attacks, a huge increase from last year when only 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 up to €10,000 for this purpose, 46% from €11,000-€100,000 and 14% over €100,000.
Working with industry experts and continuously learning and developing skills are for 6 in 10 businessesways of exploiting the opportunities presented through the digital transformation, report the results of the research. 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 the 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 staff.
According to the results 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 refers to companies that pioneer the use of digital technologies but also set trends in digital transformation.
The index ranks companies in five tiers, depending on where they are in terms of their digital transformation journey.< /p>
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 optimize digital processes).
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, Dimitris 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 for evaluating the level of utilization of digital technology and a good opportunity to strengthen the technology sector in Cyprus.
He also mentioned the lack in Cyprus of personnel specialized in the IT sector and also the lack of interest among young people in such professions. He said that CITEA, in collaboration with the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, is organizing a retraining program where 15 unemployed graduates, with non-IT degrees, will be selected to retrain in analytics technology.
He also asked , such as Government, for the upgrade of state digital services, chooses domestic companies, which, as he said, “thirst to develop”, and not from abroad, as is usually done, so that the knowledge of these projects remains in the country.< /p>
The Chief Scientist for Research, Innovation and Technology, Dimitris Skouridis, commenting on the results of the index, noted that we have a long way to go to take advantage of the digital reform and transformation and that the index has the ingredients that could measure and 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.
For the broader transformation of the country, Mr. Skouridis 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.
The Commissioner, Giorgos Michaelidis, commenting on the importance of cyber security, expressed the belief that it is not only 26% of businesses that have received a cyber attack, since there are also many who do not report cyber attacks, for various reasons , but also many more who have been attacked but don't know it.
He said he thinks it may be more than 50% who have been cyberattacked.
CITEA Secretary , Giorgos Malekkos, presented the European Level Up program in which CITEA participates together with 12 partners throughout the European Union. The project aims to empower the European SME workforce with digital skills through the development and delivery of short-term, high-quality and industry-oriented training courses.