WEF: Cyber-Attacks Remain Top Business Risk in the West

Cyber-attacks have dropped down the pecking order in terms of top global business risks but remain high on the priority list in North America and Europe, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) data.

The annual Regional Risks for Doing Business report is compiled from over 12,000 responses from business leaders in 127 countries. They are presented with a pre-selected list of 30 global risks and asked to choose the five that they believe to be of most concern for doing business in their country over the next decade.

Unsurprisingly given the current financial and healthcare crisis, the top two global risks were unemployment and spread of infectious disease, followed by fiscal crisis. Spread of infectious disease also topped the priority list for business leaders regionally in Europe, Eurasia and East Asia and the Pacific.

However, although cyber-attacks fell from second place globally last year to fourth, they are still top-of-mind in the West.

They were named the number one risk of the next decade by North American business leaders, garnering a share of 55% versus infectious diseases in second with 30%. Cyber-risk was placed second in Europe but first in the UK, with 56% versus fiscal crises in second with 45%.

John Doyle, president and CEO of professional services firm Marsh, argued that the pandemic is also indirectly influencing organizations’ cyber-risk levels.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on organizational resilience. As firms look to the future, they are matching their risk and resilience arrangements with a threat landscape marked by significant customer and workforce behavioral shifts,” he said.

“Just as economic and climate concerns will require firms to refocus business plans, a greater reliance on digital infrastructures will mean a marked increase in cyber-risk exposures. To optimize recovery, organizations will need to build greater preparedness into their business models in order to be more resilient in the face of future disruptions.”

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