Cybersecurity among the top concerns for CEOs

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If cybersecurity is not front-and-center on your radar right now as CIO, it had better get there quick. It is now likely one of the top issues keeping your CEO up at night.

Indeed, fears of a cyberattack have jumped to the number three spot of things most worrying corporate executives, a new global study (pdf) by consulting firm Protiviti reveals. That is three steps higher than a year ago, noted an article at Information Age.

"It seems that, following last year's string of incidents, the boardroom is becoming aware of the operational and reputational damage that can come with a major breach," the article stated. "In fact, more than half of the global survey respondents (53 percent) indicated that insufficient preparation to manage cyberthreats is a risk that will 'significantly impact' their organizations this year."

The Protiviti study asked corporate executives to identify the top risks to their organization in 2015, both internal and external. Among the responses:

  • 67 percent said regulatory changes and heightened regulatory scrutiny
  • 56 percent said economic and market conditions in general
  • 56 percent said challenges in recruiting and retaining top talent
  • 53 percent said cyberthreats that can significantly disrupt core operations or damage corporate brands
  • 52 percent said resources needed for privacy/identity management and security/systems protection

According to Mark Beasley, Deloitte professor of enterprise risk management and NC State ERM initiative director, the improving economy is leading many corporate executives to shift some of their focus from broader economic worries to issues closer to home. Cleary leading those is IT security.

If you need further proof of why your CEO takes IT security risks so seriously, consider this: More than 3,000 companies in the U.S. were victims of a cyberattack last year, costing in total an estimated $445 billion, says an article at Business Financial Post.

In response, corporate directors are as likely to view their corporate data as a "ticking time bomb as much as an asset," the article stressed.

That appears to be the case of the group Woman Corporate Directors, a global organization of women board members. The article said that group last week identified cybersecurity concerns as the number one trend being discussed in boardrooms in 2015.

That spells both good news and bad news for the C-Suite. The good news is that cybersecurity is getting the attention that it warrants. The bad news is that cybersecurity is also "a major reason why being a chief executive office in 2015 will be tougher than ever," the article concluded. Indeed, "failure to manage the threat of cyberattacks is the kind of thing that CEOs get fired for."

For more:
- check out the Protiviti study (pdf)
- check out the article at Information Age
- check out the article at Business Financial Post

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