CEOs recognize cyber as a top risk but feel confident about their companies’ ability to handle it. Cyber risk (33 percent) is back at the top of the risks facing organizations, after falling to third place last year. U.S. CEOs are also the most vigilant about cybersecurity among CEOs globally.
The maturity of the organization’s cyber security varies based on the size and complexity of the organization and is generally sector-specific. “Some are still in a mode of implementing foundational elements of their programs, the basic blocking and tackling activities that are required to achieve a base level of security. But, we are also seeing a lot more discussions today around longer-term sustainability of cyber risk mitigation versus point security projects; in addition to companies exploring ways to turn strong cyber programs into a competitive advantage,” says Tony Buffomante, KPMG’s U.S. Leader for Cyber Security Services.
The majority of U.S. CEOs feel prepared in terms of their ability to identify new cyber threats (92 percent), but only 41 percent consider themselves very well prepared. What is the difference between being prepared and very well prepared? KPMG’s Buffomante explains that prepared refers to the ability to organize a team to react quickly to an attack. However, there is still much room for improvement when it comes to the ability to prevent cyberattacks or to limit their negative impacts, particularly given the pace of change and technology innovation impacting business today.
Cognitive technologies are making it possible to bring cybersecurity to higher levels of maturity. “The next big frontier is how you use artificial intelligence, blockchain and other emerging technologies to ensure that we are safer not only in terms of the protection of customer data but also protection of resources,” says American Water’s Story.
The increase in the levels of preparedness is urgent, considering the damage that a cyberattack could cause to peoples’ health or lives. New technologies can monitor patients’ vital signs, help steer airplanes and autonomous vehicles, and allocate distribution of energy supplies. “Cyber is a top risk, no matter what industry you are in. It’s real, the threats are getting more sophisticated, and it’s not going away,” says Alliant’s Kampling.