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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Cyber attacks now the top risk for UK businesses

Growing concerns around data privacy and regulations have seen cyber threats shoot to the top of the most pressing risks facing businesses in the UK.

CEOs urged to make cyber security a 'core requirement' ©Shutterstock
CEOs urged to make cyber security a 'core requirement' ©Shutterstock

That is according to the findings of a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which show that eight in 10 CEOs are now worried about the threat of cyber attacks.

This is more than the 79% of business leaders that are concerned about skills shortages, and 75% that are worried about the speed of technological change.

The CEOs expressed high levels of concern around the growing sophistication of cyber attacks, with almost half personally protecting themselves by deleting social media apps.

“The threat to their margins, their brands and even their continued existence from cyber attacks is no longer an abstract risk that can be ignored," said PwC cyber security chair, Richard Horne.

“Criminals are becoming more adept at monetising their breaches, with a sharp rise in ransomware attacks this last year. 

"They can have a devastating impact on the organisations they hit, as seen in many high-profile cases."

The findings form part of a survey of almost 1,600 CEOs in 83 countries by PwC, which show that the threat of cyber attacks are a growing concern across the world.

Public fears over data privacy and data regulations are the top two issues driving CEOs’ cyber security strategies worldwide, cited by 57% of the respondents.

Vulnerabilities in supply chains and the shortage of cyber security talent complete the top four issues driving cyber policies, mentioned by 41% and 27% of CEOs respectively.

"It's clear that cyber crime continues to grow as an issue for CEOs around the world," Horne continued.

“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. 

"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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