40% of SME owners plan to continue offering remote or hybrid working, according to a new survey by Datapac.

However, the findings reveal that 38% of businesses believe that these new ways of working have made it more difficult to secure critical data.

The survey of 150 SME business owners in Ireland was carried out by Censuswide in association with Datapac and cybersecurity and backup specialist, Datto.

Meanwhile, more than half of SMEs surveyed said climate change is at least as important as price when buying IT.

Only 15% of respondents said the impact on the environment is not a key deciding factor when making technology purchasing decisions.

"The climate change agenda is something which ultimately affects all aspects of an organisation's operations," said Karen O'Connor, General Manager of Datapac.

"To meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions, organisations must holistically examine all fundamental processes, including IT, to best chart a course for a greener tomorrow," she added.

In relation to IT budgets for this year, over half of those surveyed said their IT budgets are increasing, with 35% of budgets remaining the same and 14% set to decrease.

"As organisations have witnessed first-hand the value added through enhanced flexibility and productivity, trends indicate that IT investment will remain high," Ms O'Connor added.

"When strategically examining one’s IT position, it is important to fully consider how IT investment can enhance organisational processes, rather than just focusing on point-solutions to solve individual challenges," she added.

Nicholas O' Donovan, Sales Manager at Datto Ireland, said threat detection and response capabilities remain key.

"Yet the fact remains that the best recourse in the likely event of data theft is having the capacity to quickly restore operational data from a recent and uncompromised backup," he added.