Professionals in Pakistan see cyber security as the most significant business risk: A new survey by ACCA reveals

Not a day goes by without a breaking news story about data breaches or personal data theft from large organisations. Cyber crime is one of the biggest risks to businesses to date and globally its estimated costs will reach $6trillion by 2021.

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has teamed up with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Macquarie University and Optus to launch the report Cyber and the CFO. The global survey, which features views from 1500 ACCA and CA ANZ members, including their members in Pakistan, finds cyber security is not managed as a risk to businesses and is too often left to IT specialists to handle.

Highlights from the report show:

  • Almost 60 percent of CFOs and finance leaders rank cyber security as the most important or top five business risk
  • However, a third of respondents did not know whether their organisations had been the subject of a cyber attack. Few survey responses showed a recovery plan that included much beyond the hardware.
  • Over 20 percent of finance professionals admitted they had no involvement whatsoever in cyber security within their company.
  • And 10 percent of respondents did not know who in the business was responsible day-to-day for cyber security.
  • Larger businesses placed a higher priority on cyber risks (8 percent), but small businesses were marginally (5 percent) less concerned or aware of such security risks.

Cyber-risk is becoming ever more complex with the integrated nature of supply chains. Only 19% of survey respondents said they regularly audited their supply chains.

It is noteworthy that more respondents in Pakistan than in any other country surveyed see cyber security as the most significant business risk, whereas overall its significance as a ‘top five’ business risk was lower than in the other major respondent countries.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan says: ‘Finance professionals in Pakistan need to understand and play their full role in managing cyber risk in their organisations. Weakness in cyber security is a significant business risk across all organisations. The ACCA Qualification ensures that our students and members in the country are developed and assessed in digital and technology competency to be in a position to lead organisation into the digital future.’

ACCA’s head of business management, Clive Webb, says:’The increasing use of technology within businesses to create commercial advantage comes at a price and that price is cyber risk. The finance community cannot stand by and leave cyber security to others in the business to manage. It is very complex, but it is essential for finance leaders to familiarise themselves with the issue.’

The report highlights the changing nature of the cyber threat. It establishes the financial and operational risks that arise and in that regard the finance community needs to keep abreast of the evolving nature of the threat and ensure it is managed appropriately.

The report can be accessed online: https://www.accaglobal.com/pk/en/professional-insights/technology/cyber-and-the-cfo.html

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