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The importance of PR in managing cyber threat

It is interesting to see how the perception of that the cyber threat is relevant to large corporations and businesses only is evidently shifting. The estimated cost of global cyber-crime could reach an astounding $6 trillion by 2021 and up to 90% of companies fall victim to cyber-attacks and cybersecurity remains a top priority prompting more businesses, be it small, medium or large to budget, pay greater attention and take measures to learn how to prevent and manage this threat.

According to the recent World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report the threat of hackers extending their attention and efforts beyond just entertaining themselves to stealing credit card data, is one of the biggest concerns facing the global economy in 2020. The level of this threat and its impact and consequences are undoubtedly devastating to any business or person. The report rates the likelihood and impact of cyberattack in its list of top 10 risks. Evidence of this is aplenty, starting from British Airways to Bank of America, Facebook, Apple and most recently Travelex being the victim when cyber-attack paralysed the business and its operation forcing its staff to resort to pen and paper and halted travel money sales at some banks and supermarkets.

The report suggests that over 76% of respondents to Short-Term Risk Outlook for 2020 expect the risks of cyberattacks on infrastructure to increase this year, followed closely by over 75% respondents indicating increasing risk of cyberattacks in relation to theft of money and data.

Cyber threat clearly has no boundaries, nor does it discriminate against the type or size of a target and while some businesses are still lagging behind and even oblivious to the fact that no one is immune, it is encouraging to see that some businesses across most industries, particularly those that hold masses of customer data are proactively taking measures and prioritising this for 2020.

For example, family offices and wealth management firms have traditionally managed to fly under a radar and have always been favoured for their discreetness they offer to their clients. While this may have been relatively easy to preserve in the past, surge in emerging threats such as cybercrime is certainly pushing more and more family offices and wealth management firms to look for ways to strengthen their systems. According to the recent Global Family Officer Report 2019 by UBS in partnership with Campden Wealth, responses to the survey this year highlight cybersecurity, market disruption and the possibility of another financial recession as the most significant threats that family offices could face – 20% of family offices have knowingly experienced a cyberattack, most commonly in a form of phishing (76%), social engineering (33%) and malware (33%). Recognising the level of this threat, the report shows that an encouraging 78% of family offices are seeking expert support and advisory services, while 69% invest in developing their staff via user education and awareness training.

While this proactive approach sounds encouraging, it is also worth noting the important role that communication plays in times of crisis. Reassuring your customers may be your natural instinct, but say too much too soon, without the back up of facts and evidence, or too little too late and you could easily find yourself battling even a bigger issue. Knowing how to strike a balance is crucial, but knowing who can help you to strike that balance is critical.

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