CFOs Report on Data Security, Economic Growth

According to a recent survey, more than 80 percent of companies in the U.S. and more than 85 percent in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America report that their computer systems have been breached by hackers.
More than 80 percent of companies in the U.S. and more than 85 percent in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America report that their computer systems have been breached by hackers, according to the 2015 survey of more than 1,000 CFOs conducted by Duke University and CFO Magazine. CFOs at smaller companies note that their systems are even more vulnerable, with breaches reported by 85 percent of firms with fewer than 1,000 employees, compared to about 60 percent of larger companies. These smaller firms simply have fewer resources to devote to data security and training.
“No one appears safe,” says John Graham, director of the survey and a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina. “The situation may even be worse than reported because many firms might not even realize that they have been attacked.”

CFOs at U.S. companies who responded to the survey also say they expect to increase wages by more than 3 percent over the next year—the highest the survey has found since 2007. They expect to increase hiring by more than 2 percent. The survey indicated that this growth could be the strongest in industries such as technology, consulting, healthcare, and construction. Industries such as finance and energy are expected to shrink, due to changes in the regulatory environment and decreases in oil prices, respectively, Graham explains.

Overall, CFOs in the U.S. and Asia have a positive outlook on their countries’ economies, with both groups rating their outlook at an average 63 on a scale from zero to 100.

The survey included 508 CFOs from the U.S. and Canada, 136 from Asia, 135 from Europe, 293 from Latin America, and 35 from Africa. To read its full findings, visit www.cfosurvey.org.