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Threats, Risk Coming At Businesses From All Sides

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Dabbling in FinTech innovation, expanding internationally, integrating digital systems — businesses must make progress, but they’re facing unfamiliar threats as they make these moves. And we’re not just talking about cyberattacks. Businesses face mounting risk thanks to things like geopolitical uncertainties and regulation but are also threatened by something as seemingly arbitrary as group chat platforms.

New research from the realms of supply chain management, financial services and SMEs uncovers how businesses today are approaching risk mitigation and which threats are instilling the most fear.

 

76.8% of employee group chats in use are unsanctioned by their companies, and many of those employees are sharing sensitive corporate data over those group chat platforms. The latest analysis from SpiderOak also found that, surprisingly, professionals in IT and leadership groups are actually more likely to be using these unsanctioned group chats. Employees are using these tools simply because they are easier or “more fun,” the report noted, yet private information, like strategic data, product-related documents, customer information and financial information, are often sent over these platforms, posing a significant risk to their organizations, the report concluded.

50% of financial service professionals cite global economic conditions as a top threat, more than double the number that said business model disruption was their top concern. That’s according to SAP SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics, which surveyed 4,100 FinServ executives across markets. Increased global competition is also a top concern for these professionals, the research found, with 42 percent citing this specific threat. Analysts note that the largest of corporations are even less concerned about disruptions to their business models, despite 38 percent of industry professionals focusing on the accelerated pace of change in financial services.

49% of financial professionals say earnings uncertainty is a greater threat today than it was three years ago, according to the 2017 Association for Financial Professionals Risk Survey. For these executives, geopolitical risk is a major cause of earnings uncertainty; AFP President and CEO Jim Kaitz said this kind of risk can come “in the form of a surprise election result, new regulations or heightened diplomatic conflict” and noted that it is “a greater threat to organizations than ever before.” Researchers at the AFP and Marsh & McLennan Companies found that financial factors, such as FX and interest rates, and business operations, like supply chain disruptions, pose the largest threats to organizations, with each cited by 24 percent of professionals in the survey.

40% more cyberbreaches impacted U.S. businesses in 2016 than the year prior, found CyberScout. Its latest analysis, released in conjunction with the Identity Theft Resource Center, found an all-time-high number of data breaches, with 1,093 incidents recorded in 2016. But researchers questioned whether the increase is due to more breaches or simply more publicly available data on the topic. The report found that more than half of these breaches (55.5 percent) were hacking/skimming/phishing attacks, many of which are business email compromises, in which a hacker sends a seemingly legitimate email requesting that a company pay money.

17% of SMEs say too much red tape is the biggest threat to their business, according to findings from Sage. Too much government bureaucracy and legislation were tied for the top challenge among small and medium-sized businesses, next to tax rates and access to tax relief for their companies. Those challenges surpassed the 15 percent that said access to capital is their biggest challenge. Sage released the data with a note to policymakers: “Listen up.” Only 36 percent of SMEs said they feel fairly represented in the U.S.’s current political system.

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