Technology Risks Lead Long-Term Executive Concerns

Adam Jacobson


March 1, 2021

Protiviti’s Executive Perspectives on Top Risks 2021 & 2030, conducted with the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at North Carolina State University, asked more than 1,000 board members and executives to assess their top risk issues in both the short- and long-term and found that most are currently prioritizing pandemic-related risks and operational risks. Unsurprisingly, many top risks for 2021 revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting regulations, economic downturn and increasing use of digital technology. For example, the top three 2021 risks cited were: “pandemic-related policies and regulation impact business performance,” “economic conditions constrain growth opportunities,” and “pandemic-related market conditions reduce customer demand.”

By contrast, almost all of the most urgent risks for 2030 relate to technology and operational risk. The top three were: “adoption of digital technologies may require new skills or significant efforts to upskill/reskill existing employees” (4th for 2021), “impact of regulatory change and scrutiny on operational resilience, products and services” (7th for 2021), and “rapid speed of disruptive innovation may outpace our ability to compete” (not in the top 10 for 2021).

Adam Jacobson is associate editor of Risk Management.