AI and ransomware ‘among greatest cyber threats’ in 2024.

Leaf IT has called on local businesses to make strengthening their cyber defences the number one security priority this year with ‘bad AI’ and ransomware among the greatest threats in 2024.

Photographed: Andre Lynch from ConnectWise, Steven Goldblatt from Leaf and Darren Cave, ex. Ulster and Ireland Rugby international

Leaf, an award-winning cloud-first managed service provider, made the call as it partnered with global software company ConnectWise for a special event at Ulster Rugby’s Kingspan Stadium.

Delegates comprising business leaders from across all sectors in Northern Ireland, heard of emerging threats from cyber criminals with scammers increasingly rushing to capitalise on AI, harnessing deep fakes and social engineering.

Leaf Chief Executive Steven Goldblatt said:

“Around one-in-three businesses in the UK sustain a cyber attack each year, with the average cost to victims topping £15,000.

“As cyber criminals constantly evolve their methods, it pays to continually renew and shore up your own defences to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers.

“Artificial Intelligence is a great example of how an emerging trend that can greatly benefit businesses can also be a double-edged sword to be used by scammers.

“That’s why 2024 should be the year you make cyber resilience your organisation’s number one security priority.”

Andre Lynch, Security Consultant, ConnectWise added:

“All businesses, regardless of their size, are potentially vulnerable to cyber breaches or attacks, with around a third of small businesses identifying attacks, 59 per cent of medium enterprises and 69 per cent of large organisations.

“As such, there is no room for complacency especially given the impact of cyber breaches, from downtime, loss of revenue, to damage to your reputation and possible fines or legal action.

“Focusing on resilience with a well-designed cybersecurity solution encompassing firewalls, mobile device security, multi-factor authentication, advanced endpoint detection and response, and more, can ensure your business is in the best shape to protect itself and the data of your employees and customers.”

Leaf was recently recognised as Cybersecurity Partner of the Year for its collaborative work with ConnectWise at the Florida headquartered company’s second annual WISE Awards.

Leaf, which last year celebrated its 20th anniversary boasts a mix of clients in Northern Ireland including George Best Belfast City Airport, MCS Group, Translink and Ulster Rugby. It also works closely with leading local charities Action Cancer, The Now Group and Autism NI, delivering a range of IT services.

Leaf IT opened its Dublin office in 2014 as part of its strategic growth plans on the Island of Ireland, growing its footprint in the busy Irish marketplace with a broad range of clients including AMOSS LLP and the Bar of Ireland, which represents more than 2,500 barristers, along with leading construction consultants Mitchell McDermott.

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