28 Oct 2019


BERLIN: A pan European survey of almost 600 successful businesses* has revealed that 61% of business leaders on the board of their company believe that in the war against cybercrime the hackers are more sophisticated than the software developers. 

This view of the hacker’s strength is backed by the finding that 60% of these board members believe they may have been breached without them knowing, 73% consider themselves at risk from cybercrime and only 31% believe their security strategy will protect them from a cyberattack.

The Cyber Security study, which was conducted for global network RSM by the European Business Awards, also revealed a gap in efforts to tackle the threat; with 21% of businesses having no cyber security plan in place at all.

Gregor Strobl, Head of Technology and Cyber Risk Assurance at RSM Germany said: “When it comes to cybersecurity, the lack of confidence from businesses is understandable because the reality today is that the threats are greater than protection, the hacker is always two steps ahead.

“Not only are there more hackers, but we have seen a move towards syndicates where criminal organisations across the globe are joining forces, often working together via the dark web quite often geopolitically, making the threat stronger.

“However,doing nothing is not an option. It is very worrying that one in five European businesses have no co-ordinated way of tackling cybercrime. Investing in controls to prevent, detect, contain and build reliance can be the difference between a controlled response with little impact, or a public scandal with significant financial loss.“

The research also investigated attitudes to cybersecurity in companies and found a significant gap in the engagement of senior management to the business threat.

Cybersecurity is currently only rarely or just occasionally discussed at board level in 54% of businesses leading 65% of business responders to say it needs to be discussed more at senior management level. However, one in three (33%) of the senior board members surveyed thought cyber security did not need further discussion.

There was also a mixed view on who is ultimately responsible for the businesses’ security, with only 31% businesses thinking the responsibility for tackling cybercrime sits with the CEO and 20% saying it is the IT Manager’s job.

Mr Strobl said “Cyber risk management needs to be owned at board level. All too often senior management don’t see the need for investment in cybersecurity, holding on to the dangerous belief that since they have yet to experience a breach (as far as they are aware) it won’t ever happen.​

“This is a particular problem for small companies with limited budgets where there is no CIO or IT Director in place and the CEO has a limited knowledge of cybercrime.

“This will change as the numbers of breaches and public fines increase, but we are actively encouraging senior executives to understand the risks associated with cybercrime, how it affects the organisations they’re responsible for, and advising where specialist support is required to protect the business against cyberthreats”.

The full RSM Cyber Study: Catch 22: Digital Transformation and its impact on cybersecurity can be found here www.rsm.global/catch-22-digital-transformation-and-its-impact-cybersecurity

 or on RSM’s web site www.rsm.global


ABOUT THE SURVEY: *The RSM Cyber Study conducted by the European Business Awards (EBA) was undertaken by 597 businesses from 33 countries in the EBA community who are currently going through digital transformation and adopting new technologies. 56% responders of the survey were senior leaders on the board of their business with a further 31% reporting directly to the board.

The EBA community is a niche group of successful businesses, all of whom have taken part in The European Business Awards competition and have gone through rigorous judging on financials, ethics and innovation. Responders span multiple industries and sizes, with recorded turnovers from less than €30 million to over €300 million.



For further information, case studies and interviews with RSM experts and the businesses in the survey please contact Vanessa Wood at the European Business Awards on 0796 666 6657 or email vanessa.wood@businessawardseurope.com

 About RSM

RSM is a leading global network of audit, tax and consulting firms focused on the middle market, encompassing 116 countries, 750 offices across the Americas, Europe, MENA, Africa and Asia Pacific and more than 41,000 people internationally. The network’s total fee income is US$5.4billion. 

As an integrated team, we share skills, insight and resources, as well as a client-centric approach that’s based on a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses. This is how we empower them to move forward with confidence and realise their full potential. 

RSM is a member of the Forum of Firms, with the shared objective to promote consistent and high-quality standards of financial and auditing practices worldwide. 

RSM is the brand used by a network of independent accounting and advisory firms each of which practices in its own right. RSM International Limited does not itself provide any accounting and advisory services. Member firms are driven by a common vision of providing high quality professional services, both in their domestic markets and in serving the international professional service needs of their client base.  

For more information, visit www.rsm.global, or search for RSM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

About the European Business Awards

The European Business Awards is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious cross border, cross sector business competitions. Its primary purpose is to support and develop a stronger, more successful, innovative and ethical business community in Europe, as it believes businesses play a key role in addressing major issues faced across the world.

It aims to do that in 3 ways:

·         Endorsing and promoting Europe’s best businesses to help them attract new customers, partners, investors and talent

·         Sharing learning and solving problems to help businesses overcome the hurdles that stand between them and growth

·         Stimulating debates by asking the big questions about issues faced across Europe and how we can tackle them The European Business Awards is now in its 12th year. This year it considered over 120,000 businesses from 33 countries.


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