Corporate legal counselors and directors believe cyber security is the top issue of concern for companies today, according to a recently released survey.
The “Law and the Boardroom Study,” conducted by Corporate Board Member, also found that one-third of the respondents felt their company board is doing a poor job dealing with cyber security issues.
“I hate to say this, but I think it is going to take several well-publicized security breaches before a supermajority of corporate boards finally embrace the fact that doing business today without a prudent crisis plan in place is a formula for disaster,” Corporate Board Member President TK Kerstetter said in the report.
This is the 12th year for the survey. Corporate Board Member is an information and education resource for senior officers and directors. They conducted the survey with FTI Consulting Inc., a global advisory business.
The survey comes amid a wave of news about cyber security attacks. For example, banks in the United States came under a new round of attacks in October, particularly Capital One. The attacks are part of “coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the websites of major U.S. banks,” according to an article from Bloomberg.
Earlier this year, Congress failed to enact a cyber security law – it passed the U.S. House but stalled after the White House threatened to veto it over concerns it would violate privacy. And White House-backed cyber security legislation in the U.S. Senate was opposed by Republicans.
In October, Obama Administration officials planned to meet with House staffers on developing an Executive Order dealing with cyber security issues. The order is expected to give the Department of Homeland Security more leeway to develop cyber security plans to defend the nation’s infrastructure, according to an article onThe Hillwebsite.
Meanwhile, those in the corporate world are becoming increasingly alarmed by cyber security threats. The Corporate Board Member survey found that 55% of general counsel attorneys and 48% of directors believe cyber security is the top issue that corporations must address. That’s a big leap from the 23% of general counsel attorneys and 25% of directors who found cyber security an area of concern in 2008.
The report noted: “Today, there is arguably no more insidious threat to a public company than that of cyber risk: it’s invisible, ever-changing and pervasive—making it very difficult for boards to manage.”
An article from the Society for Human Resource Management website about the survey noted that cyber security threatens organizations of all sizes. It also quotes from a 2011 study by the Ponemon Institute that found the average cyber security breach costs a company about $7.2 million, or $214 for every record hacked.