| Directors and Officers – Most concerned about cyber-attacks and data loss in midst of pandemic – Willis Towers Watson and Clyde & Co. | According to a global poll conducted by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) and Clyde & Co, a prominent global law firm, cyber-attacks and data loss are the top risks facing Directors & Officers (D&Os), with COVID-19 and the forced change in working processes adding to the concerns.

Cyber-attacks (56 percent of respondents said the risk was very significant or extremely significant), data loss (49 percent), regulatory risk (46 percent), Health and Safety risk (41 percent), and the risk of Employment claims (38 percent) are the Top 5 risks this year, according to the survey, which covers the UK, Europe, APAC, and the US.

Cyber-attacks were cited as the top concern by 42% of respondents in APAC. This could be due to a sharp increase in publicized data breach instances in the region over the previous 18 months, as well as a trend of strengthening data protection regulations, with certain Asian jurisdictions becoming more matched to the GDPR’s penalties and requirements.
Other significant conclusions of the paper include: Businesses are becoming more vulnerable to data loss as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has forced them to implement new procedures and systems overnight, resulting in a fertile environment for cyber thieves.

Regulatory and litigation risks continue to be a challenge for businesses, with board diversity now becoming a requirement for the majority of companies.

Despite rumors of a probable wave of insolvencies, the expected concern about insolvency was significantly lower than in the previous survey.

“The study results reflect the rising knowledge that cyber risk is not merely an issue to be handled by an organization’s IT team,” Jennifer Tiang, Regional Cyber Leader for Asia at Willis Towers Watson, stated. It is a far bigger issue that affects all aspects of business and necessitates the participation of risk, legal, and IT teams, as well as the understanding of all employees from the bottom-up and top-down board monitoring. The financial consequences of a cyber incident can be disastrous, from a cyber-attack to data loss.”

“One of the key purposes of D&Os is to optimize returns for their shareholders and provide direction in managing a business, especially during hard and unpredictable times,” Joaquin Uy, D&O and Cyber Practice Lead at Willis Towers Watson Philippines, added.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to affect organizations and people in the Philippines, this is the case for all firms. Unexpected hazards, such as cyber threats, have arisen as a result of the sudden changes brought on by the immediate transition to remote working. These risks are difficult to mitigate and measure. Since remote working has become the standard, the security of personal data connections cannot be guaranteed, posing a risk to the data and vital information that employees have access to. This will allow cyber criminals to launch larger targets with larger incidents and ransomware attacks, putting D&Os at greater risk and suffering severe consequences.

Directors must continue to show that they have made reasonable steps to understand their organization’s cyber risk and that they have a risk and insurance framework in place that reflects these considerations.”

The report’s full text can be accessed here.

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