Businesses need to be aware of the risks and equipped to deal with them, the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers has insisted.
As cyber criminals develop ever more sophisticated techniques to infect computers, spread viruses, shut down networks and steal sensitive information, the risk to businesses is growing.
Indeed, when discussing risk management, internet security is now high on the priority list for many firms, as a cyber attack could have devastating consequences on their operations.
It was an issue highlighted by Ian Powell, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, at the World Economic Forum in Davos recently, after the international organisation listed cyber crime as a top five global risk in terms of its likelihood and its potential impact over the coming decade.
"The alarming growth in cyber crime highlights the challenge that all global business leaders face," he remarked.
"Although they might be aware of the threat they are not necessarily equipped to respond effectively, so it’s important to discuss the issues at a platform like Davos."
"After all," he warned, "cyber crime is a global risk that knows no boundaries."
William Beer, director of PWC’s UK cyber and information security practice, also stressed the need to take cyber crime and information security seriously.
He noted that many business leaders see it as a problem for their IT departments, when in fact it can have a knock on effect on the whole company.
As a result, many firms fail to put the necessary business continuity plans and procedures in place to mitigate the negative impacts of a cyber attack.
"Recent attacks have shown incredible resourcefulness and ability on the part of the criminals and even the most cyber savvy organisations have found themselves exposed and ill prepared to manage the effects," Mr Beer remarked.
"The cyber threat is very real and businesses need to allocate proportionate time and resource."
Investing in offsite backup to keep business critical information safe in the event of an incident could be a wise move.