COVID, cyber assaults, information fraud high threats for Indian corporates: Research

New Delhi, December 9

The public health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as the top threat for Indian corporates, while cyber attacks and data frauds loom equally large, according to a study.

The report, titled ‘Excellence in Risk Management India 2020, Spotlight on Resilience: Risk Management During COVID-19’, has been published by global insurance broker Marsh and risk management society RIMS.

While there is great optimism about the ability of organisations to rebound and address future pandemic-related challenges, cyber attacks and data fraud continue to be paramount concerns for risk professionals in India, as per the survey.

Around 63 per cent of the 231 survey respondents—which included C-suite executives and senior risk professionals—identified the continued fallout of COVID-19 among the top three risks facing their organisations.

Cyber attacks (56 per cent), data fraud or theft (36 per cent), failure of critical infrastructure (33 per cent), fiscal crises (31 per cent) and extreme weather events (25 per cent) were highlighted among the other top risks for Indian businesses.

The majority of survey respondents (85 per cent) said the pandemic necessitated a shift to remote work, which has increased the organisations’ exposure to potential cyber attacks.

In the light of the pandemic and shutdowns imposed by national and local governments, failure of critical infrastructure climbed the ranks in the 2020 survey as many organisations re-evaluated their risk management priorities.

Despite various extreme weather events, such as cyclones and forest fires, extreme weather dropped from third in 2019 to sixth place in 2020.

“Organisations need to balance their focus between long-standing and emerging risks. While there has long been an awareness of weather-related risks, low-frequency risks generally receive less attention. 

“The pandemic has underlined the need for risk managers to keep all perils on their radar,” said Sanjay Kedia, Country Head and CEO, Marsh India.

While many senior business leaders are shifting attention to questions of resilience, more than one-fifth of respondents said that they do not assess or model emerging risks, said the report.

“Organisations need to focus on building resiliency to future black swan events. The lessons learned in 2020 should be leveraged to revise business continuity plans so that companies are able to withstand the impact of the next big challenge,” Kedia added.

Laura Langone, RIMS 2020 president, said, “Cyber attacks, fraud, weather-related risks and, even, pandemics, have long been identified and prioritized by risk professionals.”

“However, risk professionals’ work must go beyond identifying the impacts of these uncertainties. It is incumbent upon us to highlight opportunities and solutions that support shifts in strategy, strengthen organisational resilience and empower business leaders to make strategic-decisions with confidence,” Langone said. — PTI


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