Robotics, AI or company cars – where managers see cyber threats

Robotics, AI or company cars – where managers see cyber threats Image: MS - KI

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German and Swiss C-level managers see a need for action, particularly in the home office, to better protect sensitive data in the future. Austrians consider smart building technologies to be vulnerable. In Germany, company cars are considered important and people are rather skeptical about future technologies.

"Boss, what's your opinion on cyber security?": this is the answer provided by Sophos' large-scale management study for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. One part of the analysis examines the question of where C-level managers see an increased need for IT security measures in the company in the future. Bosses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were surveyed, and the survey was expressly not aimed at IT staff. The results show that there are sometimes significantly different assessments in the three countries.

Companies: What is sensitive data?

Networks, clouds, smartphones and laptops are now well protected as standard in companies. However, Sophos also wanted to know from those responsible which areas they consider to be particularly critical for the protection of sensitive data in the future. The vast majority in Germany (67,7 percent), Austria (60 percent) and Switzerland (72 percent) see this need for mobile working or home office work. This is more or less uniform across all sectors surveyed (retail, services, manufacturing).

Company car in Germany, Smart Building in Austria, Smart Factory in Switzerland

From the managers' point of view, AI technologies are the second most important sensitive sector, with 45,8 percent of respondents in Germany and 54 percent in Switzerland. Austria considers smart building (intelligent building technology) to be more important, with 46 percent, while AI only comes in third place with 42 percent. Smart building is only fourth in the list of German (36,4 percent) and Swiss companies (38 percent) surveyed. In Germany, the safety of company cars is considered more important, with 37 percent of respondents ranking third. In Austria (34 percent) and Switzerland (32 percent), company cars come in fifth place among the areas that will become increasingly safety-relevant in the future.

Different assessments also apply to automation technologies

Automation and intelligent networking in production - or smart factory for short - deserves a higher level of security for Swiss decision-makers, with 46 percent ranking it third after remote work and AI. Respondents from Austria gave this fourth place with 40 percent, and Germany dropped one point in the survey, coming fifth with 35,8 percent.

Vehicle charging technologies are seen as less vulnerable to future cyber threats, coming in 6th place (D: 28,9 percent) and 7th place (AT: 30 percent, CH: 24 percent). Austrians are most likely to imagine that their own and IT-supported energy production, such as solar panels on company roofs, could pass on sensitive data (32 percent), Germany sees a slightly lower risk here at 28,4 percent, and Switzerland considers this rather unrealistic at just 17 percent.

Somehow new territory: Virtual worlds and robotics as unlikely cyber scenarios

In general, the imagination of managers in the three German-speaking countries differs widely when it comes to virtual topics:

  • The threat posed by virtual worlds such as metaverses or avatar communication ranks eighth for Germans with 18,4 percent. The Austrians, at ninth and 12 percent, consider it unlikely. Only Switzerland, at 22 percent (eighth place), can see a certain threat potential here.
  • Things like Google glasses, head-up display glasses, and augmented reality are unlikely for the Swiss, who are in tenth place (12 percent). Germany also cannot see any great danger here (17,9 percent, ninth place). Only respondents in Austrian companies can imagine a specific security need in this area, at 22 percent (eighth place).
  • While the topic of robotics in everyday office life, such as coffee robots, seems unlikely to be a potential security risk for German managers (last place, 11,9 percent), 26 percent of Swiss managers think this is not so unrealistic. Austria is in between on this topic with 22 percent and eighth place.

Background to the survey

On behalf of Sophos, Ipsos surveyed 201 C-level managers from trade, services and manufacturing in Germany and 50 each in Austria and Switzerland on the subject of IT security in their companies.

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About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries trust Sophos. We offer the best protection against complex IT threats and data loss. Our comprehensive security solutions are easy to deploy, use and manage. They offer the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry. Sophos offers award-winning encryption solutions, security solutions for endpoints, networks, mobile devices, email and the web. In addition, there is support from SophosLabs, our worldwide network of our own analysis centers. The Sophos headquarters are in Boston, USA and Oxford, UK.


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