Key business concerns for 2020 and beyond

A new report by RiskBusiness outlines the key concerns that business should be focussed on during 2020 and beyond.

At the beginning of 2020, RiskBusiness conducted a survey looking into the key issues faced by firms as we entered a new decade. Even just a few months on, the landscape for firms could not look more different.

The COVID-19 crisis has eclipsed all other threats, but even so, it is vital that firms do not sweep the many pressing challenges they faced as they entered 2020 under the carpet. Once an exit strategy for the lockdown measures affecting many countries across the globe has been initiated, and we attempt a return to business-as-usual, the issues we were concerned about earlier in the year will still be here.

This report, with qualitative input from risk managers working in financial institutions around the globe, takes a look at eight key business concerns on the agenda at the beginning of the year. These were:

  • ransomware,
  • data privacy breaches,
  • operational resilience,
  • climate change,
  • non-compliance with regulatory change,
  • failure to report money laundering,
  • major technology failures/outages; and
  • sexual discrimination, bullying and harassment of staff.

Climate risk is no longer just a concern for Business Continuity, but instead needs to be considered from a reputational and potentially regulatory perspective. According to the World Economic Forum, over 50% of the world’s GDP is highly or moderately dependent on nature, equating to around US$44tn. Statistics like this mean business can no longer ignore the impacts of climate change. But how will this affect the way we manage risk; and are risk professionals ready and able to take on this challenge?

The growth of mafia-like cybercriminal gangs, increased political unrest and implementation of GDPR are making things increasingly challenging for those tasked with managing cyber and IT risk. Recent geopolitical developments have had a marked impact on rates of ransomware attacks across the globe. High-profile data breaches continue to hit the headlines on a regular basis and despite the dawn of two important pieces of legislation (GDPR and CCPA), data breaches were worse than ever in 2019.

An increased regulatory focus on IT resilience in 2020 as a result of large-scale outages across the industry, was inevitable. The FCA and PRA’s proposals relating to operational resilience were brought about largely as a reaction to the growth in technology uptake in the sector – and the resultant rise in outages.

And finally, in a post-‘Me Too’ world, firms need to ensure they are doing everything they can to ensure employees feel safe at work. A Lloyd’s of London survey conducted in 2019 revealed there are still widespread cultural issues within firms, with 8% of 6,000 respondents claiming they had witnessed sexual harassment over the previous 12 months.

The list of issues highlighted in this report is by no means exhaustive and demonstrates just how intertwined the different functions within business are, with every risk identified easily linked to another. With this in mind, RiskBusiness will publish a follow-up report later in the year to reflect on how businesses are addressing these issues under the increased pressure brought about by the global health crisis.

The report Key Business Concerns for 2020 was published on 29 January by RiskBusiness and is available here (registration required).

© Business Reporter 2021

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