Canadian Underwriter

Data loss a significant global risk, survey finds

April 1, 2007   by

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One in three global businesses see loss of data as a significant threat and the key issue to address in operational risk management planning, according to the latest global risk briefing report conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by ACE European Group (ACE).

The survey of 181 senior executives and risk professionals revealed that loss of data was the most important consideration in terms of operational risk, with over 40% saying their organization focused more on loss of data than other issues – including systems failure, human error and even natural disasters.

The results mark a growing risk management trend towards a greater emphasis on the operational impact of data loss. “The survey shows that risk managers clearly understand the value of data and increasingly are focusing on its associated losses,” Gareth Tungatt, senior underwriter specializing in IT and cyber-risk at ACE, said in an online posting on the ACE European Group site.

The study shows 71% of those questioned said they have increased the time and resources they dedicate to focusing on their business continuity programs. When asked about the business impact of poor planning, 43% of respondents identified reputational damage as the main threat. However, only 19% said loss of revenue. “The apparent lower level of fear about loss of revenue is a concern,” Tungatt said. “Based on the survey’s findings, exposure to financial losses is expected to increase, so it is clear that businesses should be doing a lot more than they currently are to counter the financial implications of data loss.”