Cyber attacks have once again been ranked the top business threat for 2018, according to the seventh edition of the Business Continuity Institute's (BCI) Horizon Scan report. The large-scale cyber attacks that took place last year reaffirmed the need to build cyber resilient organisations.
Top threats for 2018
The annual BCI Horizon Scan, which assessed the business preparedness of 657 organisations worldwide in 76 countries, showed that non-physical threats continue to be top of mind. 53% of business continuity and resilience professionals are ‘extremely concerned’ about the possibility of a cyber-attack. Meanwhile, 42% are worried about the possibility of a data breach, and 36% concerned about unplanned IT or telecom outages.
Physical security challenges, however, do remain a concern. 18% of businesses identifying interruption to utility supply and adverse weather as severe threats. These two concerns are related, as severe weather events often damage infrastructure and utility services.
”This unavoidable chain reaction reinforces the importance of workplace recovery plans to help organisations become better prepared for crises, ensuring the safety of their staff and the stability of their operations,” said BCI.
Mr Gianluca Riglietti, author of the report, added that resilience practitioners should also remain vigilant about natural catastrophes and pandemics that could occur in the short term and have a highly disruptive impact. Nonetheless he noted that organisations seem to be headed in the right direction in terms of preparedness, as the uptake of business continuity arrangements shows consistent growth.
Increase in business continuity awareness
The report suggests that professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that business continuity bring to their organisations. The uptake of the international management system standard for business continuity (ISO 22301) is growing, as is the investment made into business continuity management (BCM) programmes.
There is a positive correlation between the amount of time organisations adopt and embed BCM arrangements and the likelihood of businesses to keep investing in them, found the study. 86% of organisations who have had business continuity plans in place for five years or more stated that they will either increase or maintain their investment in business continuity. The report proposes that this could be due to the fact that professionals are starting to see a return on investment (ROI) from their business continuity plans.
Mr Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, noted that organisations cannot afford to be complacent, with stakes continuing the rise as the development of more sophisticated technologies gathers space. He expressed concern that 29% of respondents still do not have access to the important information that helps them conduct longer term analysis for horizon scanning, and 23% do not conduct any kind of trend analysis at all.
“They may be cognisant of the importance of business continuity, but it’s not just this that will build their organizational resilience; a much more holistic approach is required, focused on understanding all strengths and vulnerabilities,” he said.
“Ultimately, organisations must recognize that, while there is risk, and plenty of it, there is also opportunity. Taking advantage of this means that leaders can steer their businesses to not just survive, but thrive and ultimately be more resilient.”