Measles or Cyber Attacks: What Are Organizations Most Afraid Of? Workplaces More Financially Prepared as Fears Have Grown


March 12, 2015

Contact: Stacy Van Alstyne | stacyv@ifebp.org | 262-373-7755

Brookfield, WI March 12, 2015 – Despite seemingly common workplace fears like disease outbreaks, violence and natural disasters, the number one concern for organizations is a cyber attack. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans recently released their 2015 Workplace Threats survey and 37 percent of organizations said a cyber attack was their number one concern, compared to other potential threats.

The fear of cyber attacks at the workplace has increased by almost 75 percent compared to five years ago. Eighteen percent of organizations have been through an actual cyber attack and 18 percent have experienced a data breach issue.

What were the other number one concerns for workplace threats?

  • Cyber attack: 37%
  • Internal data security breach: 25%
  • Workplace violence: 19% 
  • Natural disaster: 12%
  • Disease outbreak: 2%
  • Terror or bomb threat/attack: 2%

From natural disasters to disease outbreaks, many organizations have planned ahead and are financially prepared should a threat occur. Sixty-four percent of organizations are spending more financial resources on crisis prevention than they did five years ago.

"With all the different threats facing employers today, it was interesting to see cyber attacks clearly emerge as the greatest concern," said Julie Stich, CEBS, Research Director at the International Foundation. "It is positive to see the financial preparedness of organizations and the preventive steps being taken."

Workplaces are preparing for threats by: 

  • Restricted access to electronic files: 63%
  • A plan to communicate with and account for all workers: 62%
  • HR/benefits records back up: 57%
  • Evacuation plan: 56%
  • Free flu shots or other immunizations: 53%
  • Mobile device at work policy: 44%

The Workplace Threats survey also looked at employee communication, work privacy, the disease causing the most concern, post-incident resources, and concern over threats during the past five years. View the full survey by visiting www.ifebp.org/workplacethreats.

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The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a member-driven organization with five decades of experience as a leading objective source of employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy education and information within the American and Canadian workplace. The Foundation's expertise is industry wide; and it offers resources that include Foundation staff, training, conferences and research on topics critical to assisting its 35,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members respond to trends affecting the well-being of more than 25 million lives in North America. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org.