Clients of Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business, rank damage to brand and reputation as the top overall concern facing their organisations, and for the first time ranked cyber risk—regularly linked to brand and reputation issues in the wake of data breaches—as one of their top 10 concerns.

The 1400 respondents to the Aon Global Risk Management Survey included CEOs, CFOs and risk managers, and ranked damage to brand and reputation as a top concern across almost all regions and industries. In previous surveys, financial and economic risks—including commodity price risk, economic slowdown and technology failure—were seen as most damaging at C-suite level with risk managers focused on liability-related risks such as cyber, property damage and third party liability.

According to Stephen Cross, chief innovation officer at Aon Risk Solutions, “It’s little surprise to see cyber risk enter the top 10 at the same time we are seeing increasing concern about corporate reputation as the two issues are a great example of the interconnectivity of risk.

Among the key findings:

  • Reputation damage, the top-ranked risk in this year’s survey, can result from a number of factors and is correlated to several other risks on this year’s list.
  • Regulatory/legislative change ranked number three this year and made a significant move up the list for directors’ and officers’ risk.
  • Failure to attract and retain talent ranked number five, though respondents in some regions ranked it even higher.
  • Cyber risk entered the top 10 at number nine, ranking higher in North America. Cyberattacks can damage companies in a number of ways, linking the threat to other risks on the list.