Cyber attacks have been identified as the biggest threat to businesses for the second year in a row, according to Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and British Standards Institution (BSI).
More than eight in ten (85%) of business continuity managers surveyed said they fear the possibility of a cyber-attack, while 80% said they are also concerned about data-breaches like those suffered by the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Sony, making it the second biggest threat, up from third place last year.
Concerns over supply chain disruption remained in the top ten, but fell two places from fifth last year to seventh this year. Almost half of those polled (47%) identified increasing supply chain complexity as a trend, leaving their organization vulnerable to disruption from conflict or natural disasters.
Concerns over the availability of talent and key skills entered the top ten for the first time this year, with 13% indicating they are ‘extremely concerned’ and 34% ‘concerned’ about the threat.
Howard Kerr, chief executive at BSI, said: “2015 saw a number of high profile businesses across the world hit by cyber-attacks, so it’s reassuring to see that so many are aware of the threat it poses. Our research finds it to be the top concern in six out of the eight regions surveyed.
“However, we remain concerned to see that businesses are still not fully utilizing the information available to them to identify and remedy weaknesses in their organizational resilience.
“It is difficult to conceive that either investors or employees will be reassured that the leaders of the organizations they trust are making strategic decisions without an effective evaluation of risk.
The report also measures sentiment towards specific business trends and uncertainties. The use of the internet for malicious attacks remains on top this year, with 83% indicating their concern. Increasing supply chain complexity also features in the top ten and on the radar of 47% of respondents. Despite growing fears over the resilience of their firms, the report records another fall in the use of long-term trend analysis to assess and understand threats, down 3% to 70% this year.
David James-Brown FBCI, Chairman of the Business Continuity Institute, said: “The need perceived by organizations to identify and build resilience to this range of threats reveals the importance of this survey for business continuity professionals, the Horizon Scan’s reputation and reliability make it one of the most popular reports in the industry on a global scale. It is indeed crucial for practitioners to advise organizations on what to prepare for and adjust their recovery plans accordingly."