Poll reveals top ten organisational risks for 2019

Research by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors that has found cybersecurity has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been identified the number one risk facing organisations across the private and public sectors. The findings come from a survey of over 300 internal audit chiefs across Europe.

Cybersecurity is now such a big concern for chief internal auditors, that a clear two-thirds (66%) of all the respondents that took part said it is now one of the top five risks their organisation faces.

The research is published in the latest annual risk report ‘Risk in Focus' produced by seven European institutes of internal auditors, covering eight EU countries. The report highlights the top risks that should be high on organisational agendas in 2019 and further into the future.

Chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, Dr Ian Peters, said: "It is not surprising that organisations are most concerned with cybersecurity, compliance and data protection in a post-GDPR world."

"Cyber security has been a high-priority risk for a number of years and this shows no signs of abating. However, companies are pushing to move away from legacy systems and, as approaches to managing cyber risk mature, attention is turning to third-party defensibility.

"High-profile cyber attacks such as Petya and WannaCry are becoming more and more prevalent and this means that organisations are only as strong as the weakest link in their IT supply chain." Dr Peters said.

A major obstacle to mitigating cyber risk is the piecemeal approach organisations have taken to their IT infrastructure planning and development over past decades. Poor governance and oversight of IT functions has meant businesses have gradually built siloed systems and bolted on parts of their network over a period when cyber risk was low.

Top ten risks for 2019 (Source: Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors)

The top risks facing organisations, identified by chief internal auditors, are as follows:

Cybersecurity: 66%
Compliance: 58%
Data security & protection: 58%
HR & people risk: 42%
Regulatory change: 37%
Digitisation: 36%
Innovation: 28%
Culture: 25%
Outsourcing & third party: 24%
Political uncertainty: 23%

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