The shift towards WFH has heightened cyber attack and data loss risks, with exposures for senior managers, finds survey

Cyber-attacks and data loss are the top risks facing Directors & Officers, with COVID-19 and the forced change in working practices serving to heighten the concerns according to a global survey from Willis Towers Watson and Clyde & Co.

The survey, covering UK, Europe, APAC and the US identifies the key risks for directors across the globe with cyber-attacks (56% of respondents saying the risk was very significant or extremely significant), data loss (49%), regulatory risk (46%), Health and Safety risk (41%) and the risk of Employment claims (38%) making up the Top 5 risks this year.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Increased vulnerability to data loss is resulting from business moving to new procedures and systems overnight due to the COVID-19 pandemic with remote working creating a fertile ground for cyber criminals;
  • Regulatory and litigation risk continues to challenge organisations with board diversity now becoming mandatory to most businesses, and
  • Expected concern about insolvency featured considerably lower than in the last survey despite speculation of a potential wave of insolvencies.

Jennifer Tiang, regional cyber leader for Asia at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The survey results reflect the growing realisation that cyber risk is not simply an issue to be handled by an organisation’s IT team. It is a much broader issue cutting across all spheres of business and necessarily draws together stakeholders from risk, legal and IT teams, as well as requiring awareness of all employees from the ground up and board oversight from the top down. From cyber-attack to data loss, the financial impacts of a cyber event can be catastrophic. 

”Directors remain under a duty to demonstrate they have taken prudent steps to be apprised of their organisation’s cyber risk and have a risk and insurance framework that reflects these considerations.”

James Cooper, chair of the Global Insurance Practice Group and head of the Financial Institutions and D&O team at Clyde & Co added, “This important survey highlights the changing risk environment facing key businesses today.”