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Cybersecurity tops business risks in internal auditor survey


Cybersecurity, regulatory change and digitalisation are the top three business risks facing firms today, according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors.

The survey, widely considered to be a barometer of organisations' risk priorities, canvassed the views of 528 chief internal auditors (CIA) in different sectors across eight European countries.

  • 78% of respondents cited cybersecurity as the top business risk (an increase of 18% on last year), with 59% and 58% citing regulatory change and digitalisation respectively.

"Cybersecurity is a problem we regularly see on the news from the theft of 500 million Marriott hotel guests' personal information, to the security breach which exposed 50m Facebook user identities", said Ian Peters of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors.

Quoting DLA Piper, there were an estimated 59,000 personal data breaches reported across Europe in the first eight months after GDPR was introduced.

The second spot - regulatory change - should surprise no-one. 2018 was, after all, a mammoth year for European regulation with GDPR, MiFID II and PSD2.

30% of respondents cited concerns about AML, anti-bribery and corruption and antitrust compliance. Here's how one internal auditor at a Swedish bank saw it:

  • "If we look at the number of hours we allocate for mandatory regulatory and compliance audits, it amounts to about 20% of the total number of hours and it is increasing every year. But our resources are not increasing in line with that. That's a real challenge."

With further regulatory change almost inevitable with Brexit, what's the likelihood of this taking the top spot next year?

You can download the report from the IIA website.

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