CEOs are concerned that cyberthreats could negatively impact theircorporate growth, with 61 percent claiming that concern in the PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) 19thAnnual Global CEO Survey report.
Thesurvey polled 1,409 CEOs in 83 countries about the current and future climateof international business. The corresponding report ranks cyberthreats as the eighthmost feared impediment to business growth. However, geopolitical uncertainty, especiallyin unstable regions of conflict where cyberattacks and cyberespionage are agrowing threat, was the second largest concern (74 percent), behind onlyover-regulation.
Amongindustries, the insurance sector expressed the most apprehension overcyberthreats hindering business growth, with 79 percent citing the problem as alegitimate concern. The energy sector was the industry most concerned withgeopolitical uncertainty (89 percent).
Indeed,while 60 percent of CEOs said they see more growth opportunities today comparedto three years ago, 66 percent said they see more threats than previously (32percent replied that they see only more threats).
Consideringthe above concerns, it's no surprise that 55 percent of survey-takersacknowledged they are concerned about a lack of consumer trust in theirbusinesses today, compared to 37 percent three years ago. CEOs are thereforeturning to technology to keep customers and other key corporate stakeholders engaged,satisfied and loyal, the report continues.
“To me it's actually encouraging to see how CEOs are actuallyconfronting today's realities but also thinking about the long term,” said PwCInternational Chairman Dennis Nally, presenting survey results in Davos,Switzerland, site of the World Economic Forum. “I also think that by focusingon meeting the greater needs of stakeholders, not just shareholders, thecurrent level of trust in business can begin to get reestablished.”
However,only 30 percent of CEOs believe that personal data security solutions are amongthe key technologies that generate robust stakeholder engagement. Data miningand analytics solutions were tops on this list (68 percent), while securitysolutions ranked seventh overall.
Data protectionsafeguards ranked dead last in terms of CEOs' top three priorities for today's businessesand governments (among nine available response choices). Only eight percent ofrespondents included data security among these top three priorities. A skilled,educated and adaptable workforce was the priority cited most frequently, at 76percent. Adequate infrastructure and high employment levels were ranked secondand third, respectively.
On amore optimistic note, 72 percent of respondents said they think the world ismoving more towards a free, openly accessible Internet, while 25 percentbelieve Internet access will only become more fragmented.