In today’s digital age, small business owners are navigating an increasingly complex landscape, and one of their biggest concerns is cybersecurity. A recent report, “The Cyber-Resilient CEO,” by Accenture, reveals some alarming statistics: a whopping 74% of CEOs express concerns about their organization’s ability to shield their business from cyberattacks, even though 96% cybersecurity plays a critical role in their company’s growth and stability.
It turns out, CEOs tend to take a more reflexive approach to cybersecurity, which, in turn, raises cyberattack risk and the costs associated with each one. Of note is that 60% of CEOs concede their organizations do not give cybersecurity the urgency it deserves in their product or service development, or overall business strategies.
What’s behind this lack of planning? A major factor seems to be a widespread misconception, held by 54% of CEOs, that implementing protections and training to avoid an attack is more expensive than an attack itself. Additionally, while 90% of CEOs believe strong cybersecurity is a selling point, a paltry 15% think it is important enough to discuss at the most senior levels, likely because nearly all CEOs reported believing it is the obligation of CIOs and CISOs
Also discussed are the looming dangers of generative AI, which gives cybercriminals new and less obvious way to launch attacks. In fact, 64% of CEOs express apprehensions about malicious actors using generative AI to execute – and even automate – deceptive phishing schemes and manipulative social engineering attacks.
As you can expect, the CEOs who participated in this survey run the gamut from those who cross their fingers and hope for the best to those who understand the risks and take cybersecurity seriously. What sets them apart?
- From the start, they integrate cybersecurity into the organization’s strategy.
- Everyone in the organization has some responsibility – and is held accountable – for maintaining a secure environment.
- They recognize a secure digital foundation is important to consistent and safe operations.
- Third parties are brought in to create a unified front against cyber threats.
- They see cybersecurity as an ongoing threat and adjust strategies as needed to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Small business owners must take cybersecurity seriously, and the lessons from this report are clear: a proactive, holistic approach to cybersecurity can lead to not only enhanced security but also improved financial performance. CEOs who make cybersecurity a top priority position their organizations for success in today’s digital world. Your business’ future may depend on it.