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9/26/2016
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Cyber Risk Among Top Concerns For Business Leaders: Study

More than 50% of business leaders surveyed in the Travelers Risk Index report cyber, computer, and technology risks are among their top concerns.

Cyber risk is a top concern among 54% of enterprise leaders, but only 13% are "very confident" they have the best safeguards to avoid a cyberattack.

This comes from the 2016 Travelers Risk Index, which is conducted each year to learn the biggest worries among American business leaders and consumers. The insurer partnered with Hart Research, which surveyed 1,202 business decision makers across 11 industry sectors.

Among enterprise leaders, the biggest areas of concern include medical cost inflation (59%), rising employee benefit costs (56%), cyber risks and data breaches (54%), legal liability (51%), and attracting and retaining talent (50%).

The overall concern for cyber risk declined since last year, dropping from 58% to 54% of business leaders. Cyber threats remain the top concern among 61% of large businesses, with 23% reporting increases in external data breaches and cyberattacks.

Smaller organizations are less worried. Cyber risk ranked fifth among concerns for small businesses and third among medium-sized organizations. Among small businesses, 89% said they had never experienced a breach.

When asked about specific risks, 49% of business leaders report they worry from "some" to "a great deal" about someone hacking into the corporate system. Computer damage and shutdown came in second place, with 48% of respondents expressing concern.

Other common fears included outsiders gaining access to financial systems (46%), employees putting corporate data at risk through unsafe practices or personal devices (45%), and having the resources to recover from data breaches (42%).

Most organizations are not prepared to handle the damage from cybercrime. The majority (81%) of businesses are not confident in the steps they should take following an attack, and 32% have implemented a response plan to handle a breach.

Enterprise leaders should also note how security breaches have little effect on consumer behavior. The survey discovered nearly 25% of consumers had experienced a breach, but since then, did not take greater security precautions than those who had never been attacked.

When asked to identify emerging areas of risk, business leaders listed the evolution of technology and changing workforce as their biggest worries. Increased connectivity among people and objects, and the growth of automation, will drive risk.

The rise of technology has sparked concern about how businesses will attract and retain talent in the future. Forty-three percent of businesses are worried about retaining employees with valued skills and experience, and 39% worry about finding new qualified workers as more millennials enter the workforce and skill availability continues to change.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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