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AI and cybersecurity: Top concerns for global c-suite executives

Survey reveals AI as a direct threat and highlights urgent need for skilled talent.

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62% of respondents prioritize hiring AI experts.
Larger organizations might feel more vulnerable due to a deeper understanding of AI risks.
Cybersecurity remains a more pressing concern than generative AI.

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A new report highlights that AI remains a critical focus for C-suite executives.

According to a survey by the IN Group, involving 705 C-level executives from the UK, US, Germany, and the Netherlands, nearly half (49%) view AI as a direct threat to their organizations. This perception is even stronger among CEOs, with 56% identifying AI as a direct threat. The survey revealed geographic variations, with the highest concern in the US (57%), followed by the UK (49%), Germany (43%), and the Netherlands (35%).

Recruiting for AI Skills

The urgency to recruit AI talent is evident, as 62% of respondents prioritize hiring AI experts to leverage advancements in AI technology. The regional breakdown is as follows:

– U.S.: 75%

– Germany: 68%

– U.K.: 48%

– Netherlands: 48%

Interestingly, larger companies perceive generative AI as a greater threat. The report suggests that larger organizations might feel more vulnerable due to a deeper understanding of AI risks and their higher visibility as potential targets.

The survey also noted significant concerns about lagging tech innovation, with 44% of respondents feeling they were falling behind, especially in the US (50%).

About 19% of organizations see the need to enhance AI skills specifically for business applications to maximize benefits and mitigate risks.

Cybersecurity Concerns

Cybersecurity remains a more pressing concern than generative AI, amid rising data breaches and ransomware attacks. The IN Group report indicates that C-level executives are increasingly worried about cybercrime. However, leaders of larger organizations (over 500 employees) are less likely to cite cybersecurity as a concern (23%) compared to those with 250-500 employees (32%). This suggests mid-sized companies recognize the threat but may lack the necessary infrastructure or talent, whereas larger companies feel more in control.

These findings coincide with warnings about potential overconfidence among business leaders regarding cybersecurity. A recent Cisco report shows that only 3% of organizations have reached the “Mature” level of readiness to handle cybersecurity risks.

Robert Woodhouse, Director of Technology for Investigo, emphasized the importance of including tech leaders in board discussions. He stated, “Organizations will not be able to address the countless technological threats currently facing their business, optimize their costs, or innovate more effectively until the head of the technology function is part of the board, viewed as being as important to the business’s success as the CFO or CMO.”

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