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Press Release

Cyber-attacks and Data loss top concerns facing Directors & Officers as COVID-19 impacts the risk landscape, according to Willis Towers Watson and Clyde & Co

Corporate Risk Tools and Technology|Cyber Risk Management

July 13, 2021

The survey identifies the top risks facing Directors & Officers (D&Os), with the pandemic serving to heighten the concerns.

NEW DELHI, July 13, 2021 – Cyber-attacks and data loss are the top risks facing Directors & Officers (D&Os), with the pandemic serving to heighten the concerns, according to a global survey from Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) and Clyde & Co, a leading global law firm.

The survey, covering UK, Europe, APAC and the US, identifies the key risks for Directors across the globe with cyber-attacks (56% of respondents saying the risk was very significant or extremely significant), data loss (49%), regulatory risk (46%), Health and Safety risk (41%) and the risk of Employment claims (38%) making up the Top 5 risks this year.

In APAC, 42% of respondents stated cyber-attacks as their top concern. This may be attributable to the stark rise in publicised data breach events in the region in the last 18 months, combined with the trend of tightening data protection laws, with certain jurisdictions in Asia becoming more aligned to the penalties and obligations set out in the GDPR.

Commenting on the survey findings, Rohit Jain, Head of India, Willis Towers Watson, said, “In India, the Personal Data Protection bill, which is currently under parliamentary review, brings to the fore the role of Directors and the likely risk exposure in the event of a data or cyber breach. In addition, there is an increased expectation on the Board of Directors from investors, regulators, government bodies and customers as the focus on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) related matters grow. The pandemic only serves to exacerbate the risk spectrum confronting Directors, making it critical for them to reevaluate their risk exposure and consider the most appropriate D&O insurance coverage that is commensurate to the emerging nature and quantum of risk”.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Increased vulnerability to data loss is resulting from business moving to new procedures and systems overnight due to the COVID-19 pandemic with remote working creating a fertile ground for cyber criminals.
  • Regulatory and litigation risk continues to challenge organisations with board diversity now becoming mandatory to most businesses.
  • Expected concern about insolvency featured considerably lower than in the last survey despite speculation of a potential wave of insolvencies.

Jennifer Tiang, Regional Cyber Leader for Asia at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The survey results reflect the growing realisation that cyber risk is not simply an issue to be handled by an organisation’s IT team. It is a much broader issue cutting across all spheres of business and necessarily draws together stakeholders from risk, legal and IT teams, as well as requiring awareness of all employees from the ground up and board oversight from the top down. From cyber-attack to data loss, the financial impacts of a cyber event can be catastrophic.”

A full copy of the report can be found here.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimise benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

About Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co is a leading global law firm, specialising in the sectors that underpin global trade and commercial activity, namely: insurance, transport, infrastructure, energy, and trade and commodities. It is globally integrated, offering a comprehensive range of contentious and non-contentious legal services and commercially-minded legal advice to businesses operating across developed and developing markets. Clyde & Co is committed to operating in a responsible way. This means progressing towards a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity of its communities and clients, using its legal skills to support its communities through pro bono work, volunteering and charitable partnerships, and minimising the impact it has on the environment. The firm has 440 partners, 1800 lawyers, 2500 legal professionals and 4000 staff in over 50 offices [and associated offices] worldwide.

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