Cybersecurity is the most threatening risk to risk managers and businesses in the US.
That’s the finding of the annual survey by Sword GRC, a supplier of specialist risk management software and services. The research found risk managers from high risk-aware organizations consider technology as the greatest opportunity for businesses followed by expansion into new markets or sectors.
Conversely, in the UK, 14% of risk managers believe Brexit and the resulting potential economic fall-out is the biggest risk to business.
The study also revealed risk managers’ acknowledgement and preparations for Black Swans (an event that is highly unlikely to materialize but if it did, would have a substantial impact). A major terrorist attack on the business was seen as the most likely Black Swan in the UK (29%) and US (35%). However, in Australia/New Zealand, only 13% of risk managers thought that one was likely. The next most likely Black Swan in the US is a natural disaster, with 48% of risk managers saying it was likely or highly likely. This figure was 33% in Australia and New Zealand, and, in the UK, where there are fewer adverse weather events, and no major fault lines in the earth’s crust, this figure was just 27%.
Additionally, the study revealed risk managers in the UK were far more wary of artificial intelligence (AI) with 23% thinking it likely or highly likely that AI could get out of control. In the US, this figure was 15%, and in Australia/New Zealand they clearly take a far more sanguine view with no-one surveyed thinking AI was a risk.
Cybersecurity being seen as the single biggest risk for many organizations is no surprise, as it supports the anecdotal evidence seen working with clients in some of the most risk-aware industries globally, stated Sword GRC marketing VP Keith Ricketts.
“Technology is a great enabler and that has never been more true,” he explained. “The feedback we have from our risk managers is that information technology is the key to almost every opportunity for business going forward, whether that is supporting expansion into new markets and geographies, streamlining processes to gain efficiency or harnessing big data and artificial intelligence to power product development and business performance.”