More than one in 10 firms lost over $10m (£7.98m) due to cyberattacks incurring average annual losses of $4.7m (£3.7m) in the last fiscal year, according to a report from Willis Towers Watson and ESI ThoughtLab.


Image: A report from Willis Towers Watson and its partners says that cyberattacks incurred average annual losses of $4.7m in the last fiscal year. Photo: courtesy of Pete Linforth/Pixabay.

The report was published by The Cybersecurity Imperative, a global thought leadership programme produced by independent researcher ESI ThoughtLab and other organisations that are engaged in cybersecurity and risk management.

The findings are from a study taken up by Willis Towers Watson and its partners after surveying 467 companies across various industries in 17 countries.

It was also found that firms across the world are likely to ramp up their cybersecurity investments by 34% in the next fiscal year, after increasing them by 17% the previous year.

Willis Towers Watson said that nearly 12% of the surveyed firms intend to strengthen their cybersecurity investments by more than 50%. Apart from that, since last year, the proportion of firms seeing a major impact from the installation of ransomware and other cybercriminal activities has increased from 57% to 71%.

Willis Towers Watson global finex cyber and cyber risk solutions chairman Peter Foster said: “It is clear from the findings that companies are experiencing escalating impacts this year from key adversaries, including cybercriminals, malicious insiders and state-sponsored hackers, often from jurisdictions beyond the reach of local law.

“Establishing a continuous assessment through an integrated risk approach to cyber is critical for mitigating this ever-growing risk.”

According to the research, companies have to take a proactive, multi-layered defense to combat evolving cyber risks. Willis Towers Watson said that companies are responding by putting the largest share of their budgets on technology while trying to strike the optimum balance between investments in people and processes.

The insurance brokerage firm further said that companies are also focusing more on risk identification to tackle new vulnerabilities and have increased investment in resilience to make sure that they can quickly respond to successful cyberattacks.

In May 2019, Willis Towers Watson signed a quantum computing agreement with Microsoft with a goal to transform risk management for making the insurance value chain more efficient. The collaboration will develop the potential of quantum computing for Willis Towers Watson’s risk management and insurance clients.