Risk managers consider cyber attacks and data breaches as the biggest threats to businesses, including those in the financial sector, according to a new survey by Aon.
The survey, which polled more than 2,000 respondents in 16 global industries, also found that cyber security and data breach risks are rated as the most significant risk management issue across all sectors. Business interruptions and economic slowdowns ranked as the second- and third-most significant risks, respectively.
Among respondents from financial organizations, including pension funds and other institutional investors, the 10 top-ranked risks differed from the cross-sector results. Among financial businesses, the risk of a global economic slowdown ranked second while reputational risks claimed the third spot.
Survey respondents in the financial sector also rated other technology-related risks highly, including the risk of organizational computer failure (ranked seventh) and data privacy concerns unrelated to the risk of data breaches (in eighth).
According to an analysis of the results, Aon noted risk management professionals in financial organizations may be paying undue attention to financial risks. Non-financial risks, including fraud, embezzlement and other misconduct, have traditionally posed the greatest risk to businesses within the sector.
“Among banks, the most frequent and severe losses have historically occurred as a result of these types of conduct risks,” wrote the analysts. “The current environment — with legions of employees working from home — increases the potential for more longer-tail losses during the next three to five years and for incidents that could go undetected for periods of time.”
Pandemic-related risks appear to have cemented their place in the minds of risk managers. Among respondents across all sectors, the risk posed by pandemics or other public health crises placed seventh while the dangers of supply chain failure placed eighth.
One area where risk managers across all industries didn’t express considerable concern were environmental, social and governance-related risks. Climate change ranked 29th, while broader ESG risks ranked 31st.