Boards Must Adapt as Tech Advances Show Cyber Training Gap

With Research Finding That 60% of Board Members Have Not Received Sufficient Cyber Resilience Training, Boards Must Adapt Quickly

Cybersecurity continues to be a concern for businesses, with a report conducted by technology services company Accenture highlighting how CEOs lack confidence in their organisations’ ability to protect against cyberattacks, despite seeing cybersecurity as vital to business growth.

And according to recent report findings, that concern extends to the boardroom, with the report finding that almost two-thirds of board members have not received adequate support and training regarding cyber resilience in the past 12 months.

The research was conducted from May to July 2023 by Bob Semple, Board Intelligence and The Corporate Governance Institute, and included over 250 participants, consisting of Chairs, NEDs, and Executive Directors from both public and private sectors, including state-funded organisations and charities.

David W Duffy, CEO and co-founder of the Corporate Governance Institute, has highlighted the rapid advancements in technology that have transformed the world within a single generation. However, he raises concerns about whether boardrooms keep the same pace, discussing the potential consequences of not providing proper training to board members.

“Cybercrime can devastate a company's financial stability, brand identity, and market worth. It also risks customer trust, negative publicity, and legal repercussions. Everything points to long-lasting damage if companies are not prepared. 

“Considering the extensive repercussions, it is evident that each board must tackle cyber risks; this subject is an essential aspect of effective corporate governance. According to our survey, the significance of cyber resilience is growing considerably in all sectors, but it is worrying that 60% of board members have not received sufficient cyber resilience training in the past year.”

Technology in the boardroom: How tech can improve performance

While use of technology in the boardroom has accelerated post-Covid, the research found that 82% of directors believe they could be making better use of technology to improve board performance. For example, just under 40% of boards are not yet using a secure board portal, and a quarter of directors expressed dissatisfaction with their board’s use of audio and video communication technologies.

“All boards must take necessary precautions to safeguard their systems,” adds Duffy. “Regular training and awareness programs should be conducted to educate board members about potential risks and ensure proper policies and procedures are in place in case of a breach. These policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated regularly. Ultimately, board members must be responsible and answerable for any security breaches.”

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