PwC report reveals businesses ill-prepared for cybersecurity threats

14 January, 2019

In spite of the growing importance of protecting against cybersecurity threats, PwC’s Digital Trust Insights survey has found that businesses of all sizes are ill-prepared to protect themselves and their customers.  

According to the report, only about half of medium and large businesses say they are building resilience to cyberattacks and other disruptions. Fewer than half say they are comfortable their company has adequately tested its resistance to cyberattacks. 53% are practicing proactive risk management of their digital transformation, while only 27% of executives say their boards are getting adequate metrics on cyber and privacy risk management.

This year’s survey, which is the re-imagination of the Global State of Information Security® Survey (GSISS), presents the views of 3,000 business leaders across 81 territories, including Ireland.

Pat Moran, PwC Ireland Cyber Leader, said: “ With cyberattacks nearly an everyday occurrence, causing massive disruption and financial loss, the survey highlights that businesses need to do more to protect themselves. Cyber-risk priorities have evolved from focusing on information security to a more holistic focus on digital risk management right across the organisation and involving all members of staff. Companies that lead on safety, security, reliability, data privacy, and ethics have a competitive and reputational edge, and will be the titans of tomorrow.”  

The key findings from the report include:

Only a small minority of companies (23%) around the world even at the +$100M level, say they plan to align security precautions to business objectives.
Fewer than half of +$100M companies in key sectors worldwide say that they are fully ready to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect in May 2018.
Though 81% of executives consider IoT critical to their business, only 39% are very confident that sufficient “digital trust” controls are built into their adoption.

Will O’Brien, Director, PwC Ireland Cyber Practice, added: “It’s very important not only to have digital controls documented, but that they are also tested regularly. Constant monitoring and testing of technological infrastructure is critical to ensuring companies are resilient when a security breach occurs. It will also speed up recovery in the event of disruption. The importance of maintaining data integrity will only grow as companies make more data-driven decisions with the aid of artificial intelligence.”  

Creating confidence in a digital world

In a technologically-driven and interconnected business world, companies have the responsibility to take the right steps to manage digital risk.  

Confidence in people, processes and technology is critical to building a secure digital world. More than just mitigating risk, companies must thoroughly integrate and align cybersecurity concerns into their business strategy. Companies can gain a competitive advantage by becoming trusted providers in terms of safety, security, reliability, privacy, and data ethics.

Distilling insights from 3,000 business leaders across 81 territories, the Digital Trust Insights survey breaks down the mechanisms that companies need to build digital trust in an evolving cyber risk landscape - and identifies 10 opportunities to improve security and privacy and build consumer trust.

  1. Upgrade your talent and leadership team
  2. Raise workforce awareness and accountability
  3. Improve communications and engagement with the board of directors
  4. Align security to business goals
  5. Build lasting trust around data
  6. Boost cyber resilience
  7. Know your enemies
  8. Be proactive in compliance
  9. Keep pace with innovation
  10. Engage security experts at the start of digital transformations

Innovation and automation need greater attention

The survey further revealed real concerns in innovative digital technologies that the business community is rapidly embracing.

70% of survey respondents said that artificial intelligence is critical for their future business success, yet only 31% said they are confident that their business is building sufficient ‘digital controls’ to adopt the technology.

69% of survey respondents said that robotic/automation is critical for their future business success, yet only 33% said they are confident that their business is building sufficient ‘digital controls’ to adopt the technologies.

55% of survey respondents said that Drone technology is critical for their future business success, yet only 22% said they are confident that their business is building sufficient ‘digital controls’ to adopt the technology.


Contact us

Pat Moran

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Johanna Dehaene

Corporate Communications, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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