Cybersecurity concerns ‘rise significantly’ among CAEs

Cybersecurity concerns 'rise significantly' among...Cyber threats are on the rise worldwide, and chief audit executives (CAEs) are among those who are increasingly losing sleep over the potential problems that compromised technology could create within their organisations.


A recent study from Protiviti has revealed the top risks that executives fear in 2016, with 535 global C-suite members participating. Of these, one-fifth were CAEs; the second largest group aside from chief risk officers (142 respondents).


While cybersecurity issues weren’t the greatest risk cited, they experienced the biggest growth between 2014 and 2016. Protiviti ranks risks on a ten-point scale, with 1 reflecting ‘no impact’ on respondents’ businesses and 10 considered an ‘extensive impact’.

What are the risks?

Among CAEs, the concern that their companies were not adequately prepared for cyber threats that could disrupt operations and damage the brand registered a score of nearly 6.5 in 2016. Anything above 6 is designated a ‘serious impact’ risk.


Just two years earlier, CAEs believed cyber attacks constituted a ‘potential impact’ score of 5.5. Only the effect of regulatory changes and increased scrutiny on product design and delivery was thought to be a bigger overall risk at slightly below 7.5 in 2016.


Importantly, technology was a feature in a number of other top-five CAE risks. For example, the rapid pace of innovation and digital disruption preventing organisations from competing or effectively managing risk was the third highest fear among professionals, climbing from a score of 5 in 2014 to approximately 6.25 this year.

Tackling cybersecurity concerns

The poll adds to a growing body of research that highlights the threat of cyber attacks. A survey from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) in December showed 37 per cent of financial industry employees believe malicious digital acts were the number one risk to organisations.


“Given the number of cyber attacks in 2015 that garnered headlines, it comes as no surprise that cyber security remains a top concern throughout the industry,” stated Stephen Scharf, DTCC managing director and chief security officer.


“Comprehensive security programs will need to continually evolve as they devote more resources to an ever-changing systemic risk landscape.”

Finding the right talent to help

The obvious impact on recruitment is that firms continue to seek the best cybersecurity professionals to tackle the ever-growing threat that technology adoption brings.


Barclay Simpson’s 2016 Security & Resilience Market Report revealed ongoing demand for skilled individuals who can handle increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.


The research found highly qualified candidates often court multiple offers from interested companies, and vacancies for these positions shows little signs of abating. However, applicants will need to meet employers’ growing expectations, resulting in even junior roles requiring a broader set of skills than in previous years.


Our 2016 Market Report combines our review of the prevailing conditions in the security & resilience recruitment market together with the results of our latest employer survey.


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