Willis Towers Watson survey: fines and penalties considered top risk over data breaches

Media executives also worry about outdated legacy IT

A new research survey by Willis Towers Watson says media, telecom and tech executives around the world rank regulatory fines and penalties as the top risk to their industries from data breaches.

Media executives are also worried about outdated legacy IT systems and infrastructure, as well as intellectual property and patent breaches, while their telecom counterparts say intellectual property and patent breaches, as well as threats from new and emerging competitors are the next leading industry risks. Tech management also consider competition/antitrust law scrutiny associated with M&A activity as threats to their industry.

There were sharp differences, too, in terms of attitude towards the threats. “North American companies are most preoccupied with consumer product legislation and lawsuits,” the survey reported. “In Southern Europe, the threat from new and emerging competitors ranked as the principle concern from respondents. In the Indian subcontinent, outdated legacy IT systems and infrastructure was the top risk. For Asia Pacific, industry leaders identified the uncompetitive compensation and reward plans as the leading risk to their business.”

In a formal statement on the research, Sara Benolken, head of technology, media and telecommunications global industry at Willis Towers Watson, commented that “while understandable that regulatory change and legal risk are front of mind, none of the identified risks ranking lower down the scale should be ignored, given their potential to either harm or grow a business. In fact, certain risks such as cyber-vulnerabilities can exacerbate other risks, including data protection fines and penalties.”

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