Cybersecurity Must Be Priority for Corporate Boards, KPMG Says

The threat of cyber-attacks must be taken more seriously by corporate boards at Britain’s largest companies, according to a survey by KPMG LLP today.

Less than 40 percent of board members in the FTSE 350 Index companies said they viewed cyber-attacks as a more serious risk than other potential pitfalls, the survey said.

“This is a clear indication that boards have some way to go to understanding the consequences that a cyber-attack can have on the brand and bottom-line,” Malcolm Marshall, global head of KPMG’s cyber security practice, said in a statement.

The World Economic Forum said data fraud and theft as well as cyber-attacks are among the 10 biggest threats to global stability this year in its annual Global Risks report published yesterday.

In the last year, hackers have stolen customer records from JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Sony Corp.’s entertainment unit faced a stream of embarrassing revelations about health records, movie stars’ fees and private e-mails for weeks after a group known as the Guardians of Peace broke into the company’s computers.

Almost three quarters of the companies surveyed by KPMG said their boards were taking cybersecurity seriously. While more than 60 percent of board members said they have a good understanding of their firm’s data assets, just 24 percent said they regularly viewed risk management regarding that information.

“Cybersecurity may be moving up the board agenda but clear communication between Boards and management remains patchy at best,” Marshall said.