Companies around the globe identify cyber as top risk

Companies around the globe identify cyber as top risk

Insurance giant Allianz has just released its Risk Barometer 2022. In this 11th annual edition of the survey, companies across the globe have identified cyber threats, business interruption, and natural disasters as this year’s biggest business risks.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) surveyed 2650 risk management experts – a populous which includes CEOs, brokers, and insurance professionals – across 89 countries and regions for this year’s Risk Barometer. Cyber threats are currently of greatest concern to companies (44% of respondents). Last year’s frontrunner, business interruption comes next (42%) followed by natural disasters (25%), which moved up as a concern, having polled at only sixth last year.

When looking specifically at the responses from German companies, the fear of business interruption (55%) ranked slightly higher than cyber incidents (50%). Natural disasters and climate change, ranked third and fourth respectively. These made the most significant gains in the ranking of risks for German companies – perhaps not so surprising considering the recent catastrophic flooding in the Ahrtal region.

Business interruption “will likely remain the key underlying risk topic in 2022,“ AGCS CEO Joachim Müller summed up in the press release announcing the new Barometer. That’s why building up appropriate resilience to the multitude of potential business interruption causes is has quickly become a competitive advantage for companies. Casting an eye on Retarus’ portfolio, the modular Secure Email Platform – specifically the Email Continuity service – is especially relevant in this regard.

Ransomware the predominant cyber threat

The main reason for the prevailing fear of cyber incidents is correlated to the dramatic increase in ransomware attacks during 2021. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed rated ransomware as the biggest cyber threat. According to the Allianz report, the latest attacks show concerning trends, such as double extortion (a combination of encrypting a company’s data and stealing it for other criminal activities), exploiting serious vulnerabilities in software (e.g., Log4j, Kaseya) and targeted attacks on critical physical infrastructure (Colonial Pipeline).

Ransomware has become a huge industry for cyber criminals, who have refined their tactics and managed to lower the barriers to enter the cybercrime business, according to Allianz. “The commercialization of cybercrime makes it easier to exploit vulnerabilities on a massive scale,” warns Scott Sayce, Global Head of Cyber at AGCS. “We will see more attacks against technology supply chains and critical infrastructure”.  

Cyber incidents leading to business interruption feared most

The past year has been marked by widespread business interruption, the report goes on to say. The extent and effect of vulnerabilities in today’s supply chains and manufacturing networks have become even more apparent. The survey revealed that what its respondents fear most of all are cyber incidents leading to disruption of their businesses – not only due to the increase in ransomware attack, but also because of their increasing reliance on digitalization and remote work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the degree to which modern supply chains are interconnected, while also illustrating how seemingly “random” unrelated events can conspire to cause wide-ranging failures and breakdowns in global supply chains. “There is a growing willingness among top management to bring more transparency to supply chains,” says Maarten van der Zwaag, Global Head of Property Risk Consulting at AGCS. “With organizations investing in tools and working with data to better understand the risks, and create inventories, redundancies, and contingency plans for business continuity”. 

When it comes to contingency planning, Retarus Email Continuity offers an essential component. The service ensures that even if a company’s own email infrastructure fails, a fully operational, ready-to-use emergency email system is standing by to keep their business-critical email communication flowing uninterrupted. Generally, all of Retarus’ key cloud services can optionally be booked with failsafe redundant operations from multiple data centers. In the unlikely event of one of the data centers becoming unavailable, the traffic is automatically rerouted to the other.

By the way: apart from cyber threats and business interruption, the Allianz Risk Barometer contains a lot of valuable information and is a worthwhile read. Should you be interested, the entire report can be downloaded from the AGCS website.

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