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Cyber-spooked UK business leaders are hesitant to adopt new tech

Written by Wed 21 Aug 2019

CISO Board

UK businesses also highlight cloud computing and IoT as main cyber weak spots

67 percent of UK business leaders say cyber security concerns are preventing them from adopting new technology and blocking their digital transformation strategies, according to a new cyber security report.

The report, conducted by EY, surveyed 175 C-suite executives at UK-based businesses to assess the state of the British cyber security landscape at the board level.

It shows that while British businesses have become more cyber cautious, private sector cyber vigilance is slowing down innovation in an era characterised by stiff competition. The two main areas of digital transformation concerning the C-suite are cloud computing and IoT.

“There is pressure for companies to compete in the technology arms race, but cybersecurity fears are sometimes thwarting adoption in important areas such as cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence and IoT,” said Mike Maddison, EMEIA Advisory Cybersecurity Leader at EY.

“This is illustrated in the concerns of our survey respondents, as 42 percent of technology and business leaders feel that they are behind their competitors in the adoption of new technology.”

While there is arguably an oversupply of cyber security reports commissioned by consultants and vendors, this particular survey is worth taking a look at due to its UK focus and the seniority of those surveyed.

While UK business leaders have thankfully overcome previous cyber negligence and are proactively acknowledging the dangers, what is required now is for businesses to again evolve their cyber security mindsets so overcaution doesn’t unduly halt innovation, Maddison added.

“Protection and prevention are still paramount yet, to stay ahead of these evolving trends, organisations need to start thinking differently about cybersecurity,” Maddison said. “Business leaders need to make the leap from seeing cyber security as only a protective measure, to it also being a strategic value driver.”

On that point the report says CIOs and CISOs are more likely to acknowledge the competitive advantage of a cyber-secure brand (82 percent), compared to only 68 percent of non-tech focused business leaders, such as CEOs, CFOs and COOs. Board members in the retail sector are most aware of the importance of a cyber secure brand, the report adds.

The report also evaluated the necessary cyber skillset of the C-suite, arguing that the presence of a board member with direct cyber security expertise can lead to strengthened responsibility that improves cyber hygiene.

“According to our survey, more than half (57 percent) of organisations do not have a board member with direct expertise in cybersecurity, and nearly two thirds (67 percent ) do not think one is needed,” said Maddision.

“Although direct board expertise in cybersecurity may not be needed, board-level understanding of the risks to the business is needed for a stronger cybersecurity posture.”

Written by Wed 21 Aug 2019

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c-suite ciso report UK
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