Treasury and finance leaders have significantly stepped up cybersecurity defense over the past three years as cybercriminals increase their efforts to breach organisations, according to the 2019 Association for Financial Professionals Cyberrisk Survey, underwritten by Wells Fargo.
Conducted in October at AFP 2019 in Boston, the survey garnered 433 responses, of which 88% were from corporate treasury and finance professionals.
Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Financial Professionals commented: “Treasury and financial leaders are well aware that the ‘new normal’ is operating in an environment where cyberattacks are frequent and cybercriminals are relentless in their efforts. To stay one step ahead, corporate practitioners need to have measures in place that can detect attacks at an early stage, which includes educating and training employees.”
Gary Owen, chief information security officer, Wells Fargo added: “Reliable cybersecurity prevention and detection capabilities are critical to a strong cybersecurity defense. Operating within a secure environment is essential to maintaining our customers’ trust and improving the customer experience.”
Impact of cyberattacks, cybersecurity preparedness, and other highlights
- Those committing cyberattacks are not discouraged by increasing controls and measures being put in place, or the consequences that they might face, and continue to attempt to infiltrate organisation through various methods as 88 percent organisations that have experienced an actual or attempted cyberattack in the past 18 months.
- Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents believe the most severe consequence of a cyberbreach at their companies has been financial losses and 39 percent are concerned about the loss of reputation arising from a cyberattack.
- Treasury and finance leaders are cognizant of the risks that cyberattacks pose to their organisations and are taking steps to mitigate these risks. 87 percent of organisations are prioritizing and focusing on cybersecurity versus other issues at their companies. Only three percent of organizations consider cybersecurity a low priority.
- The emphasis on cybersecurity at their organisations has increased in the last three years suggesting treasury and finance professionals are anxious about the impact of cybersecurity and making all efforts to mitigate them and keep their organisations secure.90 percent of the respondents have reported this.
- Only 35 percent of survey respondents are very confident that their employers are better prepared to manage and respond to a cyberattack today than they were three years ago, though there appears to be high levels of concern. This reflects on the level of confidence and preparedness to manage and respond to a cyberattack.
Being cognizant of potential attacks
The survey concludes with: “With the advancement of technology, they might be more successful in committing cybercrimes than previously anticipated. Therefore, the ‘new normal’ for treasury and finance leaders is being cognizant of potential attacks. Treasury and finance professionals must remain vigilant, collaborate with their IT staff and banking partners, and utilize the most current and advanced connection protocols to thwart new threats.”
The results of the 2019 AFP Cyberrisk Survey can be downloaded here.
According to another report on cybersecurity, an IDC DNS Survey, 82% of companies have experienced a domain name system (DNS) attack in the last year, while 63 percent of companies have suffered application downtime – costing an average of $1.07M every time.
Stressing on what can treasury departments do to increase cybersecurity, Bart McDonough, CEO of managed IT and cybersecurity specialist Agio told The Global Treasurer: “At the end of the day, treasury teams can’t let perfection to be the enemy of progress. They need to take incremental steps. The reality is that a little bit of improvement can go a really long way. Yes, it might be very difficult to fully stop the most sophisticated, advanced attackers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”