Cyber attacks are among the most severe and likely risks facing business leaders in advanced economies, according to the latest Global Risk Report, published by the World Economic Forum with support from Marsh & McLennan. Further heightening this cyber risk for businesses, the world subsequently experienced an unprecedented level of societal, economic, and geopolitical upheaval brought on, in part, by the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Cyber security will remain an enduring focus and responsibility for businesses for several reasons. First, COVID-19 has forced many businesses into a remote mode of work, presenting an expanded threat surface for cyber-criminals to exploit. A trend which will persist well beyond the current crisis. Second, the pace of technological development continues to rapidly advance. Artificial Intelligence is enhancing both the effectiveness and peril of traditional cyber threats, while other emerging technologies increasingly create unforeseen vulnerabilities in novel ways — deep fakes, voice-based digital assistants, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and more. Finally, many firms operate in complex supply chains that expose them to third-parties, which may not have the resources to maintain the same level of focus on cyber risk management. This interdependency heightens the challenge of maintaining cyber resilience across the ecosystem.
Given these factors, business leaders recognize that cyber is a risk that must be identified, quantified, and managed — but it is also one that cannot be entirely eliminated. A cohesive cyber strategy is required, one which keeps pace with technological development in an environment of increasing digital seamlessness and data ubiquity, and also, considers the human elements necessary to promote good cyber hygiene — culture, awareness, and technology enablement and support.
In the coming year, the cyber landscape will be more complex than ever before. The MMC Cyber Handbook 2021 features perspectives from business leaders across Marsh & McLennan, as well as strategic partners who hold some of the most dynamic perspectives about the cyber economy. This handbook explores significant cyber trends, industry-specific implications, emerging regulatory challenges, and strategic considerations.