Physical and Cyber Security Improving at Leading U.S. Companies

A new Business Roundtable CEO survey shows that America's leading companies are better prepared to deal with threats, respond to a terrorist incident and bounce back as quickly as possible.

According to the survey, CEOs have devoted more attention and resources to security issues and that companies have taken action to address security challenges.

"Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, security has become embedded into core business operations and daily activities of our companies," said C. Michael Armstrong, chairman of Comcast and chairman of the Roundtable's Security Task Force. "Companies are… increasing investments in physical and cyber security, improving crisis communications and developing more extensive emergency response plans. In addition, CEOs are personally engaged in security, and more than half of the companies have made security a board-level issue."

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Better physical and IT security Nearly every company has increased physical security (99 percent) and strengthened cyber security (100 percent) since the 9/11 attacks.
  • CEOs are personally focused on security 87 percent of the CEOs are devoting more time and attention to security since the 9/11 attacks.
  • Double-digit increases in security spending Companies have boosted spending on security by an average of nearly 10 percent since 9/11 ñ during a time when the economy was struggling, and 96 percent project that security spending in 2004 will go up or remain steady.
  • Improved crisis communications Nearly every company (99 percent) has a crisis communications program for employees. About nine in 10 companies (88 percent) have a similar plan for customers, and 78 percent have a crisis communications plan for suppliers.
  • Updated emergency response plan 97 percent of the companies have an emergency response plan that has been updated in the 2 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Nearly 90 percent of the companies test their emergency plans each year, and 40 percent test their plans at least twice each year.
  • Making security a board-level issue More than half of the companies (54 percent) said that security-related issues are part of the board's regular corporate governance activities, and 81 percent of companies that raised security to a board-level issue did so in the past 2 years.

"These survey results show that there has been a sea change since the 9/11 attacks in the ways that companies think about and handle security issues," Armstrong said. He said security has moved from the desks of the company chief security officer and chief information officer to the CEO and boards of directors.

"Businesses and the government both have critical responsibilities in protecting, detecting and defending against terrorism," Armstrong said. "Improving homeland security is America's most critical joint venture."

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