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Cyber-prepared for a demanding digital environment: 2021 Global Digital Trust Insights

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More consumers than ever before are using online options to engage with consumer-facing companies in our pandemic-altered environment, underscoring the ongoing importance of cybersecurity.

PwC’s annual survey of business and technology executives reveals that cybersecurity is now infused throughout organizations to increase resilience and fend off attacks. Lagging behind? Here’s what you need to do to catch up:

1. Evolve cyber leadership

At consumer-facing companies, digital change has focused on:

  • Modernizing the organization or brand with new capabilities (33%)
  • Business as usual, but faster and more efficiently (26%)
  • Penetrating new markets or industries (20%)

At some consumer markets (CM) companies, CISOs are seen as transformational leaders (19%) or master tacticians (20%).


Ensure that business decisions reflect cybersecurity priorities. CISOs need to be equipped to respond to digital change. Ideally, they would combine the best of vision and tactics to lead CM companies with confidence in a digitally demanding environment.

2. Revamp your cyber budget

Well over half (59%) of CM companies plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets. While consumers have told us they are already confident in the security of online shopping, they will need ongoing reassurance as they spend more time online.


As CM companies scramble to keep up with digital demands, cybersecurity becomes paramount. To align cyber spending to the most significant risks, start by quantifying cyber risk.

3. Fend off cyber attackers

Cyber solutions have matured, prompted in large part by a threefold growth in cloud services. Almost one-fifth of CM companies are already realizing the benefits of accelerated cloud adoption.


Invest in technologies, processes and the capabilities of your people to make meaningful headway against attackers. Build cybersecurity hygiene mechanisms into cloud solutions at the outset.

"Aggregating information security risk and comparing it to all the various other risks that exist within the organization is powerful, and its how organizations should look at enterprise risk."

Adam Mishler CISO, Best Buy

4. Build resilience against unknown threats

These vectors top the list of threats for CM companies:

  • IoT (30%)
  • Cloud service (29%)
  • Mobile (29%)

A sizeable minority (40%) of CM companies plan to undertake greater resilience testing aimed at low-likelihood, high-impact events. Meanwhile, 46% told us that cybersecurity and privacy implications are inherent in every business decision.


Infuse cybersecurity into all business operations. Double down on resilience testing that puts both the business and technical response teams through their paces.

5. Future-proof your security team

Half the executives we surveyed say they plan to add cybersecurity personnel over the next year. Roles and skillsets in demand include:

  • Analytical skills (48%)
  • Cloud solutions (43%)
  • Collaboration (43%)

Readily available, highly skilled individuals from a variety of backgrounds are in demand. Hire from within and offer upskilling opportunities to increase current employees’ skills in key areas. Meeting ongoing cybersecurity challenges will require experienced talent ready to work collaboratively on analyzing information and tackling as-yet-undiscovered problems.


CM CISOs are well-positioned to lead boldly in today’s demanding digital environment. They’ve already won the trust of consumers who have told us they are comfortable shopping online. However, as more consumers migrate online for more of their shopping, travel and hospitality needs, CM CISOs will need to continue infusing cybersecurity into every aspect of the business while also managing costs. Anticipate and manage new risks while identifying and fixing existing vulnerabilities.

Contact us

Tyson Cornell

Private Consulting Solutions Leader, Chicago, PwC US

Katrina Carrizales

Cyber & Privacy Partner, PwC US

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