Accenture highlight lack of confidence in cyber CEOs

A report by Accenture reveals how CEOs lack confidence over the cyber resilience of their business, sparking further anxieties about data safety

A recent report conducted by technology services company Accenture highlights how CEOs lack confidence in their organisations’ ability to protect against cyberattacks, despite seeing cybersecurity as vital to business growth.

1,000 CEOs from large organisations across 19 industries and 15 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East were surveyed. 

The company notes that, despite 90% of CEOs considering cybersecurity a differentiating factor for their products or services, only 15% have dedicated board meetings for discussing cybersecurity issues. Additionally, three-quarters (74%) of CEOs are concerned about their organisations’ ability to avert or minimise damage to businesses from cyberattacks - despite 96% of CEOs saying that cybersecurity is critical to organisational growth.

A great need for business cybersecurity

Accenture’s research highlights the reactive way in which CEOs treat cybersecurity, which results in greater risk of attacks and higher costs to respond to and recover from them. 

Its report notes that 60% of CEOs said that their organisations don’t incorporate cybersecurity into business strategies, services or products from the outset. Four in 10 (44%) of the CEOs believe that cybersecurity requires episodic intervention rather than ongoing attention.

More than half (54%) of CEOs say that the cost of implementing cybersecurity is higher than the cost of suffering a cyberattack despite history showing otherwise, which Accenture states is factually incorrect. 

Image source: Accenture press release

Despite 90% of CEOs saying they consider cybersecurity a differentiating factor for their products or services to help them build trust among customers, only 15% have dedicated board meetings for discussing cybersecurity issues. 

This disparity may be explained by the fact that the vast majority (91%) of CEOs said cybersecurity is a technical function that is the responsibility of the CIO or chief information security officer. However, it could also be due to the global cyber skills gap within the sector that is only expected to rise.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of CEOs surveyed also said that cybercriminals could use generative AI to create sophisticated and hard-to-detect cyberattacks, such as phishing scams, social engineering attacks and automated hacks.

Cyber resilience vs. Cyber laggards

The report also identifies a small group of CEOs who excel at cyber resilience. This group - which Accenture refers to as “cyber-resilient CEOs” and accounts for 5% of respondents - uses a wider lens to assess cybersecurity across all aspects of their organisations. The companies of these leaders detect, contain and remediate cyber threats faster than other organisations. 

As a result, their breach costs are considerably lower and financial performance significantly better than the rest, achieving 16% higher incremental revenue growth, 21% more cost-reduction improvements and 19% healthier balance-sheet improvements, on average.

Conversely, “cyber laggards” account for nearly half (46%) of the CEOs surveyed do not consistently or rigorously take any of the actions that cyber-resilient CEOs do and are typically stuck in a reactionary mode.

“The acceleration of generative AI makes it even more essential for organisations to take measures to ensure the security of their data and digital assets,” says Paolo Dal Cin, Global Lead of Accenture Security. 

“Unfortunately, it is often only after they experience a material cyber incident that they elevate cybersecurity to a board-level and C-suite priority and expand expectations beyond technology functions to better protect their organisations. Integrating cybersecurity risk into an enterprise risk management framework is the key to ensuring better security, regulatory compliance, business protection and customer trust.”

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For more insights into the world of Cyber - check out the latest edition of Cyber Magazine and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter.

Other magazines that may be of interest - Technology Magazine | AI Magazine.

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