Trust in the security of the internet is declining at the same time businesses are becoming more dependent on it for their digital infrastructure.

According to a new study from Accenture, 68 per cent of CEOs report that their businesses’ dependence on the internet is increasing, while their confidence in internet security, already low at 30 per cent, will drop even lower if nothing changes to improve it.

At 22 per cent, Australian companies are less confident in their internet security than their global counterparts.

The report, Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust, estimates cyberattacks could costs companies US$5.2 trillion in additional costs and lost revenue over the next five years.

 

The report notes that cybercrime from a wide range of malicious activities poses significant challenges that can threaten business operations, innovation and growth, and the expansion into new products and services, ultimately costing companies trillions of dollars. The high-tech industry faces the highest risk, with more than US$753 billion hanging in the balance, followed by the life sciences and automotive industries, with US$642 billion and US$505 billion at risk, respectively.

The global report is based on a survey of more than 1,700 CEOs and other c-suite executives.

According to the report, 63 per cent of Australian organisations say their dependence on the internet is growing and cybersecurity risks are also increasing.

Almost three quarters of Australian organisations (72 per cent) say security weaknesses in third parties are becoming increasingly difficult to protect, in light of today’s internet complex ecosystems.

76 per cent of business leaders say a trustworthy digital economy is critical to their organisation’s future growth.

“Strengthening Australia’s internet security requires decisive — and, at times, unconventional — leadership by CEOs, not just CISOs,” said Joseph Failla, Accenture’s Security Lead for Australia and New Zealand.

“Conventional thinking on cyber resilience needs to be taken to the next level by looking beyond the traditional boundaries of a single organisation. To become a cyber-resilient enterprise, companies need to start by bringing CISOs’ expertise to the board, ensuring security is built-in from the initial design stage and that all business managers are held responsible for security and data privacy.”

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