Despite concerns, companies remain vague about targeted attacks

A new survey of business executives, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services for Trend Micro, revealed that the majority of business executives surveyed are very apprehensive about targeted attacks—citing brand damage, professional reputation damage, intellectual property loss revenue loss as top areas of concern.

Still, despite a full 70 percent acknowledging that senior decision makers need to fully understand the source and implications of an attack, many admit that they “don't know” what type of data is susceptible to such attacks, identifying personal data and, vaguely, “other” as the only additional areas where there is awareness of potential compromise.

Another report issued on Wednesday by Symantec further supported the findings of a lack of risk awareness and understanding, in this case among small businesses. The study revealed that both investment in IT infrastructure and improving online security is extremely low on their agendas, despite the fact that three quarters of business owners believe that a day's worth of downtime would negatively impact their company's reputation.

“Unless top executives understand the vulnerability of their organisations to the rapidly evolving threats of cybercrime, cyber theft, and cyber espionage, prioritising and expanding the budgets for security will be limited,” Kevin Simzer, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Trend Micro, commented in the Harvard report.

Without rectifying this gap in comprehension, he observed, companies will remain “dangerously exposed.”