Cyberattacks and data loss are the top risks facing directors and officers, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson and global law firm Clyde & Co. The forced change in working practices brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened those concerns, the report found.
The survey, covering the UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the US, identified key risks for directors across the globe. Cyberattack was the top risk, with 56% of respondents saying it was very or extremely significant. Data loss (49%), regulatory risk (46%), health and safety risk (41%), and the risk of employment claims (38%) rounded out the top five.
Other key findings include:
- Increased vulnerability to data loss has resulted from businesses quickly moving to new systems and procedures due to COVID-19, with remote working creating new opportunities for cyber criminals.
- Regulatory and litigation risk continues to challenge organizations, with board diversity now mandatory for most businesses.
- Expected concern about insolvency featured considerably lower than in the last survey, despite speculation about a potential wave of insolvencies.
“We are delighted to be launching the 2021 Directors & Officers survey, which for the first time gathers the views of directors and officers internationally,” said Jeremy Wall, head of Global Finex at Willis Towers Watson. “We are grateful for the contributions from Clyde & Co, which have delivered a valuable new perspective to our interpretation of the survey results and have enabled us to deliver a great resource for directors and risk managers.”
“This important survey highlights the changing risk environment facing key businesses today,” said James Cooper, chair of the global insurance practice group and head of the financial institutions and D&O team at Clyde & Co. “We are pleased to collaborate with Willis Towers Watson on this survey report, which highlights continued concern around cyberattacks and data loss as well as the impact of regulatory change on business.”