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Cybersecurity risks impact Canadian businesses

March 10, 2022, 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Email, computer and security icons. Two people sitting at a computer in the background.

About one-fifth (21%) of Canadian businesses reported being impacted by cyber security incidents in 2019. The same year, Canadian businesses reported spending a total of $7 billion directly on measures to prevent, detect and recover from such incidents.

The types of cyber security incidents that impacted businesses remained consistent from 2017 to 2019, with 9% of businesses reporting that they were affected by attempts to steal money or demands for a ransom payment, and 8% reporting that they were affected by incidents with an unknown motive. Attempts to steal personal or financial information (6%) represented the third most common type of incident impacting businesses in 2019.

By 2019, most Canadian businesses had implemented cybersecurity measures, including anti-malware software (76%), email security (73%) and network security (69%) to protect their information and communication technologies infrastructure. However, while 37% of businesses reported that they used Internet-connected smart devices, 17% of these businesses assessed the security of these devices. Most businesses (65%) indicated that they did not install security updates for their software and operating systems on a monthly or more frequent basis.

More Canadian businesses have implemented formal policies for cybersecurity. In 2019, 18% of businesses had written policies in place to manage cyber security risks or to report cyber security incidents, compared with 13% in 2017. Having insurance policies to protect against cyber security risks and threats was also more common among businesses in 2019 (17%) than in 2017 (9%).

In 2019, 60% of Canadian businesses had at least one employee that completed tasks related to cyber security as part of their regular responsibilities. Almost all large businesses (85%) had at least one such employee, while fewer medium-sized businesses (67%) and small businesses (58%) reported the same.

As Canadians continue to embrace cyberspace, with 92% having used the Internet in 2020, it is important to remain aware of the risks that accompany its advantages. Understanding cyber threats and the administration of cyber security prevention can help both individuals and businesses minimize the risk of cyber-attack.

Visit Statistics Canada’s Digital economy and society portal to find more data, publications and interactive tools related to cyber security and cybercrime in one convenient location.

Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).