Canadian companies risk neglecting cybersecurity as recession looms

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New research released last week by KPMG finds that, given the rise in cybersecurity breaches, many Canadian business leaders are less confident in their ability to withstand an attack.

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According to KPMG International’s Global CEO Outlook Survey, the number of chief executive officers (CEOs) of large Canadian companies who say they are “well prepared” or “very well prepared” for a cyberattack fell by 17 percentage points from Last year. As for those who say they are “unprepared,” the number jumped three percentage points.

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CEOs also rank cybersecurity seventh behind a series of other pressing near-term risks, such as the economy, a potential recession, regulatory issues and disruptive technologies.

Among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), another KPMG survey in Canada found that they felt better prepared to deal with a cyberattack (up 9 percentage points), but more than two-thirds of they admit their cyber defenses could be “much stronger,” including raising employee awareness of cybersecurity. They ranked cybersecurity as the second most pressing concern.

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“Many large companies have invested in cybersecurity technology, tools and employee training programs over the years, but cyber threats are becoming more frequent and sophisticated,” says Hartaj Nijjar, Partner and National Leader of the cybersecurity industry at KPMG in Canada. “So while businesses may be obsessed with short-term risks like a recession right now, it’s important not to lose sight of cybersecurity, as data breaches can cost organizations millions of dollars, and it’s not something most companies can afford in an economic downturn. Securing company data is an investment that will always pay future dividends,” he added.

“The situation is different for small and medium-sized businesses, as many have gone from having few or no digital platforms before the pandemic to having them today. Last year, when they were building their platforms, they may not have prioritized cybersecurity like they do today,” says Robert Moerman, cybersecurity partner at KPMG in Canada. “Now they better understand the risks and are investing or planning to invest in appropriate defenses to protect their organizations.”

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Canadian highlights from KPMG International’s CEO Perspective survey:

  • 56% of CEOs of large Canadian companies say they are “well prepared” or “very well prepared” for a future cyberattack, up from 73% in 2021.
  • 20% say they are “under-prepared” for a cyberattack, up from 7% last year.
  • 24% say they don’t have a plan to deal with a potential ransomware attack, up from 5% last year.
  • Cybersecurity is the seventh most pressing concern today. Economic issues, regulatory concerns and disruptive technologies were listed as top concerns.
  • 62% said geopolitical uncertainty raises concerns about a cyberattack in their organization (below the global average of 72%).
  • 59% said having a strong cybersecurity culture in place is just as important as having technology controls in place, up from 83% last year (and lower than the global average of 73%).
  • 37% don’t think prioritizing and building a strong cyber culture is as important as tech controls, up from 3% last year.

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Highlights from the KPMG in Canada Small Business Survey:

  • 73% are well prepared for a cyberattack, up from 64% last year
  • 56% of SMBs said they had been attacked by cybercriminals in the past year (e.g. attack on electronic infrastructure and/or unauthorized access to company data, phishing, malware, ransomware, denial of service or insertion of malicious code).
  • Half of them said they had faced a ransomware attack in the past year.
  • 59% said their insurance companies covered their losses from cyberattacks.
  • 68% said they had a plan to deal with a ransomware attack in the event of an attack.
  • 68% said geopolitical uncertainty is causing concern about a cyberattack in their organizations.
  • 73% said they view information security as a strategic function and a potential source of competitive advantage
  • 78% agreed that creating a culture of cybersecurity is just as important as putting technology controls in place

Post-Canadian companies risk neglecting cybersecurity as recession looms for the first time on IT World Canada.

This section is powered by IT World Canada. ITWC spans the enterprise IT spectrum, providing news and information for IT professionals looking to succeed in the Canadian market.

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