Only 37% CEOs Think Their Orgs are Equipped to Counter a Cyberattack: KPMG CEO Survey

After some of the most high-profile and high-impact data breach incidents that shook the large, global corporations – both financially and reputation-wise – CEOs have started taking keen interest in cybersecurity ensuring there’s no lacklustre attitude towards business and information risk management. Not only have those incidents nudged the CEOs, but also has given cybersecurity a greater prominence in in the boardroom agenda. Year after year, some of the most reliable surveys have been proving it.

While most CEO’s are pretty convinced that it is not possible to totally get rid of cyberattacks, and that the geopolitical uncertainties, disruptions and cyber threats are their new normal they seek proactive intervention from their risk teams to at least be proactive to detect and respond to the incidents before it becomes detrimental.

This year in May 2018, KPMG did a Global CEO Outlook Survey, where over 1,300 CEOs from 11 of the world’s largest economies were surveyed. Based on the inputs from 125 CEOs in India from key large corporations, the report assesses some of the international trends impacting India.

The report found that the CEOs in India need to help make their organisations strong enough to be able to mitigate threats arising from cyberattacks, which span across an array of organisational activities.

With the increasing penetration of Internet and latest technologies disrupting the industry and the society, the volume of critical data being stored on open and interconnected technology platforms is rising exponentially. This is opening a new channel of cyber threat for the companies.

Cyberattacks, such as website intrusions, phishing, virus and malicious code and ransomware, are being increasingly reported by Indian corporates in the last few years. Concerns related to cyber security not only impact a firm, but the entire business ecosystem of an organisation. In fact, 34% of CEOs believe that their organisations will be targeted by cyber attackers, and it is a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

Fortifying the company against cyber risks could help strengthen how others perceive it in the business world. A vast majority of CEOs believe that a strong cyber strategy could help them build trust among their key stakeholders. The large-scale migration to digital platforms is making not just an organisation’s IT function, but also the entire value chain, prone to cyberattacks. Cyber threats are now challenging CEOs by becoming a cause of several risks faced by companies.

When asked about the overall readiness against cyber risks, CEOs in India stated that they significantly lagged behind their global peers.

To be successful in the rapidly transforming business environment triggered by technology evolution, it is crucial for businesses to be proactive, and be prepared for the seemingly inevitable cyberattack(s).

Some key statistics that came out of the survey are given below:

  • 50% CEOs feel that cyber security specialists are most important in supporting their organisation’s growth plans.
  • 71% consider that a strong cyber strategy is critical for generating trust with their key stakeholders.
  • 37% CEOs believe that their organisations are well prepared to counter a future cyberattack as against 51% globally.
  • 40% CEOs are prepared to contain the impact of a cyberattack on their strategic operations as against 56%, globally

“Cyber-crime incidents in India have evolved to become more frequent, sophisticated and complex in nature, making cyber security one of the top priorities for Indian organisations today. Enterprises today need a dynamic cybersecurity framework supplemented with the right skills and tools to build a resilient enterprise.” Akhilesh Tuteja Partner and Head Risk Consulting KPMG in India; Co-leader, Global Cyber Security Practice.


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