Ed’s note: The biggest threat to business in 2020

According to a new report by KPMG, 20% of Saudi business leaders agree on the biggest threat to the future of their businesses. This same threat was only rated as significant by 4% of the same leaders in 2018.

As global digitalisation efforts continue and countries publish digital objectives as part of their ‘vision’ programmes, global leaders increasingly agree that cybersecurity is potentially one of the biggest threats to growth and economic stability.

Brian Harrell, Assistant Director for the US Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) agrees, saying that: “The threat of cyber and physical attacks against critical infrastructure continues…. Threats may consist of hybrid cyber and physical attacks against the Homeland, which emphasises the need to think about a comprehensive approach to the cyber-physical threat landscape.”

The World Economic Forum further reports that one business gets hacked every three seconds, saying that cyberattacks are the second risk of greatest concern for business globally over the next 10 years.

Yet, there are others that would disagree, citing climate change as the biggest threat facing not only utilities, but humanity as a whole. The threat of climate change has certainly made itself felt in the United States, where weather events are increasing in ferocity.

Even ‘clean energy’ options such as gas are coming under pressure with communities in the US blocking the addition of new gas pipelines and connections into their communities. The Energy Information Administration estimates that annual emissions from gas have increased by nearly 500m tonnes in the past 10 years, with a 4% increase seen in 2019.

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In fact, the city of Berkley has gone so far to as ban gas connections in new construction projects, and in New York, the UK’s National Grid and state administration disagreed on the necessity of a new gas pipeline, leading to something of a stand-off.

There are those who would question that importance of climate change as a global threat. However, I would be hard pressed to express the risk as well as Hanno Schoklitsch, a Forbes Councils Member did in a recent post:

“Concerns about climate change have been voiced for years, perhaps making the threat seem less so. That thinking is deadly, as climate change is a true “threat multiplier” — meaning it gains strength and prowess each year.”

I believe that this comment, in particular, could and should be applied to the cybersecurity world as well.

More importantly though – what do you think?

What do you believe is the biggest threat to business in 2020? Share your thoughts with us and be part of the conversation.

Speaking of cybersecurity, the Smart Energy International webinar on the 26 February – Cybersecurity for utilities: 2020 and beyond – will address some of the following:

  • How do utilities across the power, water and gas sectors come to grips with the reality of cyber threats?
  • How do you get C-Level and Board backing?
  • What is the risk profile for utilities around the globe and are some more at risk than others?
  • What are other utilities doing to protect themselves?
  • Where do you go for assistance or inspiration?
  • Is enough being done or is the threat completely blown out of proportion?
  • Should you get someone to hack you to test your defences?

Join us and our expert panelists to talk about these and other issues impacting your business!

Until next week