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Cyber security and data privacy top people-related risk in Asia

Cyber security and data privacy followed by pandemics and other communicable diseases, and administration and fiduciary risks are now ranked as the top people-related risk by companies in Asia.

A new report by Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) People Risk: Resetting priorities to manage risks for workforce and business resilience, analyses the top 25 people risks and identifies the main barriers these organizations face in addressing these threats.

The report surveyed over 2,500 human resource and risk professionals in 25 countries globally and includes data from over 600 respondents from Asia.

According to the report only 48% of respondents in Asia believe that their organization has effective cyber security policies, controls and systems in place such as multi-factor authentication and data encryption.

Nearly half (45%) of the respondents cited the ‘lack of skilled resources to understand and address risks’ as the main barrier to managing cyber risks. Further, while 76% of respondents in Asia stated that their organization is addressing HR technology obsolescence, fewer than half (45%) believe that they have suitable processes in place to manage digital-first benefits administration and talent management.

Respondents in Asia still view pandemics as a top risk, however, only 47% of respondents stated that they have effective policies and support systems in place to enable remote, hybrid or other flexible ways of working and support a culture of employee health, wellbeing and safety (46%).

MMB Asia and Pacific regional leader Joan Collar said, “As the pandemic continues to accelerate digitalization, it is no surprise that cyber risks are considered as the top people-related risk in Asia.

“The respondents feel 95% of cyber security issues are due to human error, so reskilling and upskilling needs to be prioritized to ensure employees are keeping up with the technological development and changing world of work.”

The report said the focus on immediate threats may have come at the expense of support for employees. Despite 89% of respondents in Asia flagging health and safety of employees as a serious threat, risks such as diversity, equity and inclusion, mental health, workforce exhaustion and work-related illness and injury have been deprioritized.

“Companies need to adopt a more holistic approach to develop and engage their workforce and be very mindful of blind spots on the horizon, particularly around DE&I and ethics which are key to attracting and retaining the right people. Talent and benefit practices should also be aligned with the values of the organization and include a clear position on important issues such as climate change policy, diversity, equity and inclusion and equitable access to benefits,” said Ms. Collar.


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