February 27, 2017 06:00 ET

Half of Canadian C-suite Execs Say their Business Was Hacked in the Last Year

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

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb. 27, 2017) - An alarming number of Canadian business say that external hackers accessed their confidential business information over the past year, according to an Ipsos survey conducted for national accounting, tax and business consulting firm MNP LLP.

The survey revealed that nearly sixty per cent of Canadian small business owners and C-suite executives either suspect or know for certain that they were victimized by external hackers in the last year. For C-suite executives the threat is even more real with half indicating that they know - for sure - that they experienced a breach. An additional three in ten say they suspect it occurred in the last year but don't know for certain.

"It is a reality of doing business now: hackers will get in," warns Greg Draper, former RCMP investigator and current Vice President of Valuations, Forensics and Litigation Support at MNP. "Canadian businesses are poorly equipped to deal with cyber-attacks."

Despite the significant corporate experience with hacking in Canada, eight in ten say they are confident their business can prevent an external online hacker attempting to obtain or block access to confidential information. An overwhelming majority (93%) of survey respondents feel confident that they are effectively protecting customer data.

"There is a significant gap between the perceived preparedness of businesses and the number of data breaches occurring. The number and sophistication of hackers is growing at light speed, but businesses are not evolving their prevention and detection strategies at the same rate. Developing an effective defense against external fraud is an exercise in continuous improvement, not just set-it-and-forget-it. That's the part that businesses are missing here."

Only a little more than half of respondents, including C-suite executives (54%) and small business owners (54%), say their business currently uses cyber security measures like 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."

What's more, upcoming changes to Canadian privacy law will require Canadian organizations to log and disclose all breaches. Until now, it was up to a company to decide whether to go public if it was hacked, allowing many to save face.

"Along with the costs of a potential business disruption or loss of confidential information, businesses will start to see the breach-related expenses climb sharply when they are forced to publically disclose them. Loss of customer confidence and potential legal action, fines for non-compliance and the resources to ascertain exactly how hackers got in and then implementing new security measures - the proactive approach to mitigating external fraud risk is far more cost-effective."

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LLP between January 17 and January 26, 2017. For this survey, Ipsos conducted a quantitative online survey of two distinct sample groups: Small Business Owners (SBOs) of businesses of 5-99 employees (n=1,000); and C-Suite Executives at businesses of 100+ employees (n=100).

The precision of Ipsos online surveys are calculated via a credibility interval. In this case, the total sample is considered accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian SBOs and C-suite executives been surveyed.


MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada. We proudly serve and respond to the needs of our clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Through partner-led engagements, we provide a collaborative, cost-effective approach to doing business and personalized strategies to help organizations succeed across the country and around the world. For more information, visit

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