Fear of cyber attacks leads to a loss of sales

Heavy engineering companies particularly hard hit; Study on "IT security within the scope of digitisation"; Barely one in three companies feel well equipped for the digital transformation

Berlin – IT security concerns are slowing down the digital transformation of every second company in Germany. One in five companies (21 percent) are worried about losing sales because concerns regarding IT security incidents are putting the brakes on their move towards digitisation. This is "absolutely true" for eleven percent of companies and "fairly true" for another ten percent. For a further 32 percent, this is partially true. This is the result of a recent survey commissioned by Bundesdruckerei GmbH. In the study on "IT security within the scope of digitisation" a poll was conducted among 556 executives in charge of IT security at their companies. The survey is representative for companies with more than 20 employees and was conducted by Bitkom Research. "Irrespective of whether IT security concerns were justified, exaggerated or pretext, the fact of the matter is that they have economic implications and are slowing down the needed digitisation of the German economy," says Ulrich Hamann, CEO of Bundesdruckerei GmbH.

"The survey shows that Bundesdruckerei is pursuing the right strategy by accompanying Germany's SMEs towards secure digitisation." In recent years, this Berlin-based company has digitised itself, advancing from a producer of government documents to become a supplier of IT solutions for public authorities and medium-sized businesses.

According to the study, an above-average number of heavy engineering companies are missing out on sales because their fear of cyber attacks on their processes, products and services is slowing them down in their digitisation efforts: This statement is "absolutely true" for every sixth company (17 percent) in this sector, "fairly true" for another 13 percent and partially true for a further 27 percent. "The trend towards connected Industry 4.0 appears to force companies, especially heavy engineering companies, to decide between fast digitisation and networking combined with higher security risks or slow digital transformation and a loss of sales," says Mr Hamann. But given the right IT security strategy, these risks would be manageable. "Those who wish to make use of the opportunities of the digital revolution need sustainable protection for their company's assets, i.e. for all data, infrastructures and communication channels," explains Mr Hamann. Two thirds of the companies polled expect to see IT security risks rise as a result of digitisation.

According to the survey, only every third company (29 percent) feels well equipped for the digital transformation. This is "absolutely true" for eight percent of companies and "fairly true" for another 21 percent. In a comparison of sectors, it was found that the number of companies who consider themselves to be well prepared is below average in both the retail sector (19 percent) and in the car industry (25 percent). The heavy engineering sector reports 29 percent, which is the same as the average for all sectors, however, only four percent of these companies, which are so important for Germany, consider themselves to be "well and truly" prepared. The survey shows that bigger companies feel better equipped for the digital transformation while smaller and medium-sized companies have bigger worries. Mr Hamann: "Digitisation is doable for medium-sized companies – that's if they are accompanied on equal terms by the right partner".
 
Methodology: The information is based on a representative survey of companies conducted by Bitkom Research in spring 2016 on behalf of Bundesdruckerei. For this purpose, 556 different-sized companies with at least 20 employees were chosen across different sectors and asked about the goals and challenges for IT security in conjunction with the digitisation of German companies. Those polled were exclusively executives in charge of IT security at their companies.

 

Fear of cyber attacks leads to a loss of sales

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Grafik: Umsatzverlust aus Furcht vor Cyberangriffen

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Grafik: Gerüstet für die digitale Transformation

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