Digital threats remain top concerns for business continuity professionals

In BICSI Bytesby

Digital threats are once again the top threats perceived by businesses, according to the latest Horizon Scan Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), with Cyber-attack still the top concern, with 88% of organisations either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘concerned’ about the possibility of a cyber-attack, data breach remaining in second place (81%), and unplanned IT and telecom outage staying in third place (80%).

For the first time in the study’s six-year history, the threat of uncertainty around the introduction of new laws and regulations entered the list of top ten business continuity concerns in the Report. These external events underscore the interconnected nature of risks and demonstrate the need for businesses to take them into account and plan accordingly.

The 2017 global top ten threats to business continuity are:

  1. Cyber-attack – static
  2. Data breach – static
  3. Unplanned IT and telecom outages – static
  4. Security incident – up 1
  5. Adverse weather – up 3
  6. Interruption to utility supply – static
  7. Act of terrorism – down 3
  8. Supply chain disruption – down 1
  9. Availability of key skills – static
  10. New laws or regulations – new entry

For the first time, the survey also asked which disruptions respondents had experienced during the previous year in order to understand what lies behind the worry. The results showed that nine of the top ten concerns also appeared in the top ten list of disruptions, with transport network disruption appearing at the expense of act of terrorism.

Unplanned IT and telecom outages came in at number one, followed by interruption to utility supply and then cyber-attack. Data breach came in at eighth place.

With the top four threats all showing an increasing in level of concern, it is worrying that 14% of respondents will experience business continuity budget cuts over the next year, making them less likely to be able to respond effectively to these threats.

Despite growing fears over the resilience of their organisations, the Report records another fall in the use of long-term trend analysis to assess and understand threats, down 1% to 69% this year. Of those carrying out trend analysis, 32% of organisations don’t use the results to inform their business continuity management programs.