According to its “2020 Travelers Risk Index,” the Travelers Companies Inc., New York, reported that fewer companies than last year have taken steps to mitigate cybersecurity risks, despite their rising concerns about these threats increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 1,200 business leaders participated in the national survey, reporting that, while broad economic uncertainty is their greatest worry overall, cyber threats are their second-greatest concern. The leading cyber concerns among all respondents are:
- Suffering a security breach (52% worry some or a great deal)
- Unauthorized access to financial systems (50%)
- Company information being put at risk by employees (48%)
- Becoming a victim of cyber extortion/ransomware (47%)
- Theft of the company’s customer or client records (47%)
- Suffering a cyber event due to employees working remotely (47%)
Especially as noted by the last point, business concerns appear to be driven in part by the impact of COVID-19 on businesses’ operations and workforces. “The percentage of businesses reporting that at least 40% of their employees work outside of the office has more than doubled during the pandemic, from 26% to 59%,” according to the report. “Consequently, businesses find that they need to manage a new set of cyber threats.”
The report added that, despite growing concern, less than half of respondents said their organizations had taken steps to improve cybersecurity. The report listed key strategies that businesses should consider implementing, as well as what percentage of respondents had introduced them:
- Using hacker intrusion detection software (only 48% had done so)
- Conducting a cyber risk assessment of the company (47%)
- Conducting a cyber risk assessment of the company’s vendors (37%).
- Writing a business continuity plan to help with response to a cyberattack (42%)
“This is especially concerning as nearly 1 in 4 respondents (22%) said their company was a victim of a cyber event, the highest percentage since the survey began in 2014,” the report noted.