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AI-based cyber threats amongst top concerns for C-suite
Fri, 29th Mar 2024

According to a global survey of 700 C-level executives known as 'Tech and the Boardroom', 30% of top-level decision-makers view artificial intelligence (AI) related cyber threats as their primary concern.

The survey gathered responses from both tech and non-tech UK, US, Dutch, and German executives, observing key organisational challenges.

The IN Group, who commissioned the survey, found that cyber security, fuelled by the continuous evolution of AI, is the top tech priority for the boardroom, with hiring cyber security staff singled out as the largest talent-related headache for 38% of the high-ranking executives. Interestingly, a Deloitte report had previously found over 90% of cyber security professionals were worried that cyber attackers would utilise AI against their companies.

The survey also pointed out an underlining concern associated with generative AI, with 49% of C-suite executives identifying it as a direct threat to their organisation. It was more alarming for larger organisations and CEOs specifically, who perceived generative AI as a greater threat compared to their smaller counterparts, which have other pressing priorities to contend with.

AI-driven tech advancements are pushing C-level executives to instigate preventive measures, as indicated by 30% of the participants who selected cyber as their top consideration for any additional funding.

Noted opinion on the matter came from Norma Dove-Edwin, CDIO, Advisor and NED for HSBC Bank Plc and Pod-Point, who stressed the crucial role technology plays in creating value in businesses: "To succeed, it's crucial for business leaders, which includes C-Tech leaders, to have clarity on their strategic outcomes so they can build a synchronised view on where and how technology can create value, whether through GenAI, digitisation, digitalisation, automation or augmentation."

She also emphasised how C-Tech leaders bear the responsibility of providing a transparent view of risks to board members to allow for the calibration of investments and the talent required to achieve technology-driven outcomes. Confirming this positive development, two-thirds of C-Tech leaders now report to the CEO, which undoubtedly facilitates necessary alignment of technology to business strategy and consensus on priorities.

David Manfield, Associate Director for Cyber Security at Investigo, highlighted AI's role concerning recruitment: "AI is currently fuelling cyber as the biggest talent pain point as AI continues to reshape the way companies operate... Security risks are fuelling demand for cyber talent and the need to recruit candidates with specialist skills. Building a more diverse pipeline of tech talent is becoming a top priority."

Meanwhile, Nick Baxter, CEO of The IN Group, commented on the friction between historical high-interest rates, significant digital skills deficits, and geopolitical tensions that CEOs and lead teams contend with, stating: "The seismic impact AI and cyber threats have on traditional working models means business leaders face a road ahead filled with both high risks and substantial rewards."

He further argued for organisations to put more focus on empowering tech talent across AI, cybersecurity, and other areas: "Tech-savvy people armed with the latest digital skills can drive business efficiencies and ultimately lead to wider growth."