Cyberattacks among leading concerns for Canadian companies

Published: September 26, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Cyberattacks are among the most worrying risks according to Canadian organizations, according to a new survey from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Released earlier in the week, the report was published by the strategic partnership between Zurich Insurance Group, Global Risks Report, and Marsh & McLennan Companies.

The study shows that businesses still think economic and social risks are the most worrying, while cyber risk is “becoming more important”.

WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey asked participants what they believe are the five biggest risks facing businesses in their respective country within the next 10 years. Conducted between February and June this year, there were 12,411 respondents from 136 countries.

For Canadian executives, cyberattacks were the leading identified risk (43%), followed by asset bubble (35.4%), failure of climate change adaptation (31.7%), fiscal crises (29.1%) and extreme weather events (25.3%).

“Whilst economic growth and technological developments create new opportunities for business and countries, geopolitical risks and events have led to uncertainties which raise questions about how to manage resilience in uncertain times,” commented John Scott, chief risk officer of commercial insurance with Zurich. “It is essential for businesses to have clear risk management strategies in place, developing options for legal structures and operational choices which take account of uncertain policy outcomes. It’s frustrating and resource intensive, but that’s the kind of strategic thinking business needs, to deal with the uncertainty and to build resilience to the risks that might emerge in different scenarios. Looking at the survey results, it appears that in the medium-term, business leaders are focusing on social and economic risks, but shouldn’t underestimate the potential impact of environmental and technological risks as well.”