United States

MMBI shows cyberthreats for middle market companies are increasing

Executives are confident in current measures to thwart attacks

INSIGHT ARTICLE  | 

Unauthorized users will attempt to access proprietary data at more than half of the middle market businesses polled by the proprietary RSM US Middle Market Business Index survey in the first quarter—up significantly from 47 percent in 2018—illustrating that companies continue to battle the moving target of cyberthreats afflicting organizations of all sizes.

At the same time, some 93 percent of executives polled in the survey said they are confident in their organization’s current measures to thwart attacks on critical information at their businesses.

Daimon Geopfert, national leader, security and privacy consulting at RSM, said this confidence speaks to a growing information gap between C-suite executives and their information technology teams that deal with day-to-day incidents on the ground.

Meanwhile, actual data breaches at middle market companies are creeping up as well; 15 percent of companies polled for the MMBI said they experienced a breach in 2018, compared with 13 percent a year earlier.

“THE NUMBERS KEEP GETTING WORSE, BUT THE GROUP IN THEIR FOCUS KEEPS GETTING MORE CONFIDENT,” SAYS GEOPFERT, ADDING THAT HE SEES EXAMPLES OF THIS DISCONNECT FIRSTHAND IN HIS CONSULTING PRACTICE.”

The issue of data privacy is heating up in the United States following the advent of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standard in May 2018. California has taken the lead on implementing legislation to protect the privacy of consumers in that state with a law that takes effect in 2020. Meanwhile, Congress has held recent hearings on the pros and cons of related legislation at the federal level.

MMBI survey respondents said moves to protect their companies’ data security flanks included updating security protocols (73 percent), purchasing new software or updating existing systems (61 percent) and revamping privacy policies (55 percent). Sixty-eight percent of executives indicated their organization has a dedicated function for data security and privacy.

RSM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are following the issue of data security closely. A special report based on the cybersecurity findings from the first quarter MMBI survey will be released in April.

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