Findings from a recent report reveal that almost two-thirds of board members lack adequate training in cyber resilience. Compiled by Bob Semple, Board Intelligence and The Corporate Governance Institute, the report expresses concern for the lack of support board members have received in this essential area over the past 12 months.
The study was undertaken between May and July 2023, taking in over 250 participants. These included Chairs, NEDs, and Executive Directors spanning both public and private sectors, encompassing state-funded organisations and charities.
David W. Duffy, the CEO and co-founder of the Corporate Governance Institute, highlighted how the pace of technological evolution has left some boardrooms struggling to keep up. He emphasised the potential repercussions of not giving adequate training to board members in this critical domain.
Duffy stated, "Cyber crime 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." He further added, “Considering the extensive repercussions, it is evident that each board must tackle cyber risks; this subject is an essential aspect of effective corporate governance."
As per the survey, cyber resilience's significance is growing across all sectors, but the study reveals that 60% of board members have fallen behind. "It is worrying that 60% of board members have not received sufficient cyber resilience training in the past year," cautioned Duffy.
The solution, according to Duffy, is for all boards to implement protective measures for their systems. He suggested conducting regular training and awareness programmes to educate board members about potential risks, ensuring that robust policies and procedures are in place, frequently reviewed and updated. Ultimately, board members must bear the responsibility for any security breaches.
The research found an accelerated uptake of technology in boardrooms post-COVID. However, 82% of directors believe they could leverage technology better to enhance board performance.
Alarmingly, just under 40% of boards are not yet using a secure board portal, and one quarter of directors expressed dissatisfaction with their board’s use of audio and video communication technologies.
Commenting on these findings, Megan Pantelides, Executive Director of Research at Board Intelligence, suggested that directors both need and desire better tools for the job.
She mentioned, “What’s clear from this research is that directors need and want better tools for the job - whether that’s higher-quality information, more secure collaboration tools, better hybrid-meeting solutions, or more regular training."
"We hope this report shines a light not just on the risks of inaction but also the opportunities that these emerging technologies present if boards are better equipped to navigate them.”