Cyber Risk Awareness Rises Among SMEs: Zurich Survey

November 29, 2016

One way to reduce cyber risks is to boost awareness of them. In that regard, Zurich Insurance Group says, there has been big progress in terms of getting the word out among small and medium-sized businesses.

At the same time, these companies remain ill-prepared for the cyber challenges they face, Zurich said in its fourth annual global survey of small and medium-sized businesses.

First, the good news: Just 10 percent of small/medium-sized businesses said they were too small to be at risk for cyber crimes, the survey found, versus 17 percent in 2015. However, only 5 percent of respondents said they had adequate and up-to-date IT measures in place that could protect against cyber crimes, down from 8 percent in 2015.

Lori Bailey, global head of Special Lines at Zurich, said the results are not exactly shocking.

“With the number of high profile cyber security breaches in the media over the last year, it is not surprising that the risk awareness amongst SMEs has grown significantly, yet alarming that the vast majority of [small to medium-sized businesses] do not have appropriate cyber crime protection measures in place,” Bailey said in prepared remarks.

That said, Bailey warns that the big technological transformations hitting companies and systems around the world are changing the risk management game, so all parties must be willing and able to adapt quickly.

“To effectively tackle cyber crime and improve business resilience, further joint efforts will be needed between governments, service providers and businesses, Bailey added.

Here are some of the other survey results:

  • 27 percent of respondents say theft of customer data is the biggest cyber crime risk. 20 percent see reputational damage as the biggest concern.
  • 15 percent said theft of money or savings is the biggest consequence of cyber crime. About the same percentage of respondents rank business disruption as the worst effect, and 15 percent assign this ranking to malicious identity appropriation.
  • Reputational damage and theft of money/savings are the two fastest growing cyber crime concerns, coming in at 20 percent of respondents and 15 percent, respectively, reflecting a 4 percent hike over last year.
  • U.S. businesses are most concerned about cyber theft, but the biggest lack of awareness about the problem turned up among Latin American businesses.
  • Cyber crime awareness is growing substantially in the Asia Pacific region.

Zurich’s latest survey is based on responses from 2,600 small and medium sized companies around the world, employing 250 or fewer employees. Represented companies included the U.S., Turkey, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Hong Kong, Germany, Brazil, Austria and Australia. The global research company GfK conducted the actual survey.

Source: Zurich Insurance Group

This article first appeared in Insurance Journal’s sister publication, Carrier Management.

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