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Disruption, regulation and cyber-attacks viewed as top global business risks: report

A new report by professional services firm BDO says corporate leaders from 55 countries largely believe increasing regulation, disruptive technology and digital data breaches are the biggest threats to their firms


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TORONTO—Disruptive technology, regulatory pressures and cyber breaches are the biggest risks to businesses, according to a survey of global business leaders.

The 2017 BDO Global Risk Landscape Report, polled 500 corporate leaders from major industries across 55 countries.

72 per cent of those surveyed believe doing business in 2017 is riskier than it was in the past. This is an improvement from BDO’s 2016 survey, where 87 per cent of C-suite leaders said the world was a risker place than it was previously.

Despite the reduced uncertainty, anxiety still runs high in the global business community.

The three major areas of concern discovered by the survey include:

Regulatory Risk

BDO says that nine years after the height of the global financial crisis, many business leaders remain deeply concerned about their ability to adapt to growing compliance pressures.

85 per cent of leaders identified regulatory risk as the biggest risk their businesses are not prepared to handle.

Disruptive Influences

BDO says perspectives on the benefits of technology amongst those polled were largely dependent on whether a respondent’s organization is able to leverage new methods of production, regulation and disruption to its advantage.

88 per cent of CEO respondents feel their organization’s inability to embrace innovation and technological change represents the greatest risk to their firm.

Cyber Risk

75 per cent of CEOs said cyber exposure is their main concern, and for good reason, given the high-profile data breaches and hacking attacks that have typified the news recently.

Recent research by IBM and the Ponemon Institute found the average cost of a cyber breach rose to $4 million in 2016.

BDO says the mood on the global stage reflects more similarities than differences when it comes to risk perception, and mitigating these risks will require companies to take a multi-faceted, agile approach.

“We’re operating in an increasingly interconnected world where risk is unavoidable, but not unmanageable. There are a number of ways companies can manage these identified risks, but it’s vital they take a proactive approach,” said David Prime, National Risk & Advisory Services partner at BDO.


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