Technology crises take significant personal toll on business leaders – study
24 June 2019 | 0
A new study has found that 62% of Irish business leaders suffer stress-related illnesses and/or damage to their mental well-being in the aftermath of cyberattacks, IT outages or network failures, while 75% of CIOs/CTOs have admitted to suffering in such instances.
These findings come from a recently released study from Sungard Availability Services, which highlights the extent to which senior executives are linked to their company’s resilience. Conducted by Censuswide, 101 leaders in companies with over 500 employees participated in the research.
When asked who is responsible in the event of a crisis, 49% of respondents cited CIO/IT director/CTO. Comparatively 34% cited the CEO, which may partially explain the high percentage of suffering among CIOs/CTOs. On average, Irish companies report to losing €390,956 annually due to downtime, while 8% lose over €1 million.
According to participants, receiving backlash, either online or in person can be a major stress contributor. It found that 42% have experienced abuse online or verbally, and in some cases have received physical threats.
This reflects the importance of having an effective resilience strategy, both for a business and those in leadership roles.
Companies have long been aware of the financial and reputational impact of crises as 55% have experienced a decreased share price following business disruption. Now, this research reflects the negative personal impact it can have on a firm’s leadership
In fact, 20% of respondents said that cyberattacks, IT outages or network failures have resulted in CEO departure. The impact can also be widespread, as 27% of respondents said such disturbances have resulted in other board level resignations.
“The lost business, costs to repair what is broken, and the reputational damage have not only a business impact, but a personal impact,” Noel O’Grady, sales director at Sungard AS Ireland, said. “Every board member within organisations must take a long hard look at their company’s approach to resilience today and ensure it meets the ever-changing array of challenges to it.
“The fact that both CIOs and CTOs are now increasingly aware of the ramifications of a failure on their watch, shows how important this has become. Having a resilient mindset, a plan in place, and the technological know-how to weather different IT storms will ensure companies of all sizes adhere to the resilience imperative.”
While cyber-attacks (96%), IT outages (94%) and network failures (98%) were the top three crises in the past 12 months, the study highlighted that these are not all seen to be the biggest potential tests to Irish business resilience in the coming year. Indeed, 32% think changing global trade agreements will be the biggest test, 18% think it will be cyber-attacks and 16% think Brexit will be the biggest challenge.