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Cyber risk tops list of CEO concerns

Feb 06
Tags: Change Management, PwC
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Cyber risk tops list of CEO concerns

Cyber threats top the list of business risks that chief executive officers are most concerned about right now, according to new research by PwC.

The professional services firm conducted a survey of almost 1,600 business leaders from 83 countries around the world, the findings of which were released as part of the latest World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Four out of five respondents from the UK (80 per cent) said they were concerned about cyber threats to their organisation.

This was the issue CEOs of British companies were most worried about, slightly ahead of skills shortages (79 per cent) and the speed of technological change (75 per cent).

Nearly half of UK business leaders (48 per cent) said they had taken some sort of precautionary action relating to their personal digital security, such as removing social media profiles or virtual assistant apps, or asking a company to delete their data.

As far as corporate cyber security is concerned, growing public concern over data privacy (57 per cent) and data regulations (57 per cent) were cited as the biggest issues shaping business strategies, followed by:

  • Vulnerabilities in supply chains (41 per cent)
  • Cyber security skills shortages (27 per cent)

Richard Horne, cyber security chair at PwC UK, said an increasing number of firms are recognising that the cyber threat to "their margins, their brands and even their continued existence" is "no longer an abstract risk that can be ignored".

He also pointed out that criminals are getting better at monetising their breaches, as indicated by last year's increase in ransomware attacks, which can have a "devastating impact" on the organisations they hit.

"To counterbalance this, CEOs need to focus on how their business is configured - with the ability to be resilient to cyber attacks becoming a core requirement," Mr Horne added.

"Cyber security can no longer be seen as a 'bolt on', but rather something to be designed into the business and IT architecture."

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