Shifting geopolitical issues, economic uncertainty and other social challenges have led to changes in the security threat landscape. The 2023 holiday season saw a rise in both cyberattacks and physical theft from store locations.

According to the Allied Universal 2023 World Security Report, 25% of publicly listed companies reported a drop in value following an external or internal security incident over the last year. Ninety percent of organizations say cyber threats that threaten physical security systems are challenging to operations.

According to the report, company leaders are more concerned with cybersecurity than physical security threats. Misuse of company resources or data is the most common internal threat, with 35% having experienced this, followed closely by leaking of sensitive information at 34%.

The report found that the two threat actor groups causing the most security incidents over the previous 12 months were subversives — hackers, protestors or spies — and economic criminals, where 39% of respondents reported experiencing threats from both groups.

More than nine in 10 chief security officers (CSOs) agree that the following skills are highly desirable:

  • Emotional intelligence (95%)
  • A higher education degree (96%)
  • The ability to speak multiple languages (94%)

The report found that 35% of organizations anticipate a social unrest threat in the next year. Additionally, the report found an expected increase in energy disruption threats. The threat from war and political instability is also likely to increase, with 32% anticipating a threat, up from 25% in the last year.

Climate change is expected to be the second most likely security-impacting hazard by 38% of participants in the next 12 months. More than one-third (34%) of CSOs confirmed their company has experienced a security hazard due to climate change.

Approximately one-third of chief security officers (CSOs) anticipate all of these hazards will affect their physical security in the coming year as people are financially impacted by inflation and higher living costs or they are displaced from their homes by war or climate events.

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