Cyber threats a top concern in healthcare


Fortune 1,000 firms in the healthcare, technology and insurance sectors top the list of industry groups most concerned about cyber threats, according to a recent report by broker Willis North America.

The Willis Fortune 1000 Cyber Disclosure Report, 2013 is the second in a series of reports examining US public companies filings in response to US Securities and Exchange Commission guidance issued in 2011, asking US listed firms to provide extensive disclosures on their cyber exposures.

For this report, Willis expanded the scope of the review to a wider pool of companies, focussing on the Fortune 1,000 while examining the responses of various industry groups.

The report found that among the Fortune 501-1,000, 22% remained silent on cyber risk. A ‘significant’ increase compared to 12% of the Fortune 500 firms who remained silent in their disclosures, Willis said.
"The reason for this may be as companies get smaller, they see themselves as less likely targets of an attack, or it may be that smaller companies needed more time to identify their cyber exposures," the report said.

Commenting on the firms that remained silent, Ann Longmore, executive vice president, FINEX, Willis North America and co-author of the report cautioned: "This is concerning because the view that firms may see themselves as less likely targets of an attack runs contrary to our experience, and in fact, many of these firms are sitting at the center of the bulls eye."

The report also divided the Fortune 1,000 into 20 industry groups to compare the disclosures of each risk, weighing the scope of the risk; how the exposure would manifest; and what protections were being employed to mitigate the risk. With respect to ‘perceived risk,’ the report found that health care is the industry most concerned about cyber risk, closely followed by technology, insurance, telecom, life science and retail sectors.

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