The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Digital Technologies Create Threat and Opportunity

Survey: CEOs take the lead on championing secure digital platforms.

Technology is driving more change in the business world than ever before, and with that change comes more opportunities for growth – and more threats. Respondents to PwC's 18th annual Global CEO Survey were pretty evenly divided on which was more prevalent, the threats or the opportunities.

Nearly one-third (31 percent) said they only see more opportunities than there were three years ago, while 29 percent said they only see more threats. Thirty percent indicated they see both more opportunities and more threats.

Concerns about cyber threats shot up compared to last year, according to the survey results, and the expectations is that the perceived risk will increase, thanks to recent attacks across industries. While not one of the top three threats – the honors of which went to over-regulation, availability of key skills and government response to fiscal deficit and debt burden – 61 percent of respondents indicated concern over this issue.

Not all CEOs are equally worried about it, though. The concern is greatest in North America, where CEOs listed cyber security as one of their greatest threats (80 percent view it as a threat), and least worrisome in Latin America, where only 45 percent see cyber security as a threat.

The real challenge, though, may be that avoiding technology just isn't an option in this day and age. Customers want to interact through digital channels; employees want to use technology to conduct business. And survey respondents recognize that the onus is on them to drive growth in this area – and make sure they're doing it in a secure way.

A vast majority – 86 percent of respondents – said that they, as CEOs, were champions of using digital technologies in their business, and 53 percent view cyber security technologies as "very important" strategically for their companies, higher than any other digital technology asked about in the survey.

So what does this mean for distributors? How can they take advantage of the increased opportunities while addressing the threats inherent in growing in these areas?

The first step, according to Diane Merrigan, director of the B2B division for EVO Platinum Services, is to include cyber security in your general business risk discussions. Cyber needs to be discussed alongside any other corporate risk you face, she says in the latest episode of MDM Executive Briefing. And it needs to be included in your budget.

Doing so not only reduces risk, according to the PwC report, it also creates value by building trust with your customers. If they feel secure doing business with you, they'll keep doing business with you; if they don't, they'll quickly find a place where they do.

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