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Cyber Dominates Top Business Continuity Threats

Cyber-attacks and data breaches are once again the top two perceived threats to business continuity globally, according to the latest annual report from the Business Continuity Institute.

The industry body teamed up with the British Standards Institute, polling over 700 organizations in 79 countries around the world to compile its BCI Horizon Scan 2017 report.

Some 88% of respondents said they’re either “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about the possibility of a cyber-attack. Next came the threat of a data breach (81%), followed by unplanned IT and telecom outages (80%) and then security incidents (57%).

Interestingly, the threat of uncertainty around the introduction of new laws and regulations entered the top 10 for the first time in the report’s six-year history, perhaps reflecting concerns over the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to land in May 2018.

The top 10 perceived threats tallies pretty much exactly with the top 10 disruptions responding organizations said they’d faced over the past year, although cyber-attacks and breaches came fourth and ninth, with security incidents coming in between the two in fifth spot.

Topping the list of emerging trends, which organizations believe may influence them in the long-term, was the use of the internet for malicious attacks, with new regulations coming in fourth place.

David Thorp, executive director of the Business Continuity Institute, urged organizations to adopt “agile and dynamic responses” to tackle the diversity of threats facing them.

“Planning to recover from a data breach is very different from planning for the aftermath of a terrorist attack, and, as this year’s report highlights, the risk spectrum can be very broad,” he said in a statement.

“As always, the key takeaway should be that with challenges come opportunities. Change does not have to mean less favorable environments, but the landscape may be different. As organizations venture into uncharted territory now is the time to identify and undertake the measures that will increase resilience within your organization by ensuring that effective business continuity planning is in place.”

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