65% of Firms Fear Cyber Attack

A global report suggests IT outages, security breaches and cyber attacks rank as the top three threats for 2013

Written by Melissa Campeau

Close to two-thirds of international businesses fear their networks could be the targets of malicious attacks in 2013. The recently released Horizon Scan Survey Report by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) in association with the British Standards Institute states that 65% of organizations are “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about a cyber attack in 2013.

The study asked 730 organizations across 62 countries €“ from diverse sectors including financial services, public administration, defence, retail and manufacturing €“ about their biggest perceived threats in the near future. Unplanned IT and telecom outages ranked as the leading cause of concern, with 70% of respondents extremely concerned or concerned, followed by data breach (66%) and cyber attack.

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Adverse weather ranked next, with 53% of organizations feeling concerned or extremely concerned. Fear of a security incident was a threat for 47% of respondents, and an interruption to utility supply was a worry for exactly half (50%).

In addition to questions about threats, the BCI asked respondents which, if any, of 17 identified trends and uncertainties would have implications for business-continuity plans. More than seven in 10 (71%) ranked the use of the Internet for malicious attacks as the top trend. The influence of social media and its ability to damage a brand was ranked second at 60%. New regulations and increased regulatory scrutiny was an important trend for 56% of businesses, and an increasingly complex supply chain was a trend of note for 45%. Rounding out the top five was the prevalence of Internet-dependent services, such as cloud computing, at 42%.

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When the 30 Canadian responses were singled out, the rankings were in line with the global results, with a few exceptions. The threat of a business ethics incident was especially prominent, ranking 5th. In terms of trends and uncertainties, the possibility of a global pandemic was a serious concern for 57% of companies—the highest level in the survey.

“This latest report shows that businesses need to be more prepared than ever for every type of risk,” said Gary Robinson, commercial director at BSI Canada. “The top five threats highlight that the digital age is continuing to bring new challenges to organizations around the world. In order to counter this, cyber resilience must become part of an organization’s wider business resilience strategy.”

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