Last reviewed 25 March 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in businesses moving services online, supply chains being disrupted and many more employees working from home, and this has pushed cyber security to the top of the agenda for many UK employers.

This is the finding of the 24th Annual CEO Survey carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which shows that 91% of UK CEOs are concerned about cyber threats, up from 80% last year.

Almost half (48%) said that they are “extremely concerned” (up from 42% last year) about the risk of cyber threats to their business growth prospects while 67% plan to increase long-term investment in cybersecurity and data privacy over the next three years.

Chris Gaines, Cyber Security Leader at PwC UK, said: “Businesses have become more aware of how reliant on technology they are for their very survival, and as such the risk of cyber security attacks naturally weighs more heavily on their minds”.

Risk averse organisations who, in different times, may have taken years to plan for increased remote working made the change overnight, he continued. Organisations must now effectively, securely embed such changes while continuing to evolve and innovate.

However, increasing investment in cyber defences is only part of the approach CEOs should be taking, Mr Gaines argues.

They should be assessing, understanding and managing the cyber risk impact of every business decision and recognising that much of cyber security risk originates from vulnerabilities outside their organisation.

Full details of the PwC survey can be found at https://www.pwc.co.uk/ceo-survey.html.

Comment by Alastair Brown, Chief Technological Officer at BrightHR

As well as investing in much needed cyber defence systems, where HR is concerned, employers may now also begin to roll-out extensive cyber safety training to all staff.

With this, employers will likely see that maximising staff awareness of these cyber issues reduces their chances of falling prey to cybercrime, especially if homeworking is here to stay — or even through this continued period of homeworking due to coronavirus.