UK companies and institutions remain vulnerable to cyber attacks despite the fact that many CEOs now rank cyber as one of the top threats to their businesses, warns PwC’s Cyber Security practice.
Almost three-quarters (74%) of chief executive officers in the UK rate cyber security as the third biggest risk to their company after over-regulation and geopolitical uncertainty, according to PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey*, which was released at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.
Commenting on the survey, Richard Horne, cyber security partner, said more needed to be done by boards to protect company data and systems.
“There appears to be a disconnect between concerns at the top of business and the speed and consistency with which these security measures can be implemented within organizations,” Horne said.
“This vulnerability to attacks becomes more stark when we take into account the speed of technological change and how organizations’ new digital initiatives present greater potential for attackers, arming them with both new tools and a wider range of targets,” he added.
The survey showed that UK business leaders were more alert to the threat of cyber attacks than most of their global counterparts (global average 61 percent). CEOs in the United States are most concerned, with 88 percent citing it as a threat to their organization’s growth.
Commenting on the PwC Global Annual CEO Survey findings, Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner of PwC UK, said: “UK business leaders see threats to their business coming from new and more complex sources. Cyber security has rapidly risen up CEOs’ list of concerns and businesses can’t afford to ignore cyber risks any longer.”
Horne said while it is good to see that awareness of attacks is higher in the UK, leaders needed to have a greater understanding of what would make their organization more secure.
“Cyber security is becoming as much about ensuring the way technology gets used is ‘securable’ in the first place – and that is about changing how businesses work and how people think,” he went on to say.
The full survey and results can be downloaded via the PwC website.
* PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey was conducted during the last quarter of 2015, with 1409 CEO respondents in 83 countries.