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The Cyber-Resilient CEO

How confident CEOs are taking charge of cybersecurity

October 5, 2023

In brief

  • CEOs are aware of the threats to the business from cyberattacks yet lack confidence in their organization’s ability to avert or minimize such attacks.

  • Our research finds a group of confident, cyber-resilient CEOs that assess cybersecurity holistically and achieve higher business value than their peers.

  • Use this practical guide to discover the five actions CEOs can take to minimize risk and put cyber resilience at the heart of reinvention efforts.

Cyber threat complexities

When we asked CEOs about disruptive forces that are creating cyber vulnerabilities for their organizations, they identified:

  • Technology innovation: More than one-half (52%) of CEOs ranked accelerated pace of technology innovation as the top risk for cyberattacks—with 86% rating cyber trust and resilience for emerging technologies like generative AI and quantum computing as highly relevant for their organizations.
  • Supply chain disruption: Around one-half (51%) of CEOs ranked supply chain as the second highest external risk, underscoring global organizations’ value chain vulnerabilities.
  • Environmental vulnerabilities: A majority (90%) of CEOs acknowledged the link to and vulnerability from environmental changes and initiatives.

Being risk-ready

Recognition of the financial losses, reputational damage and operational disruptions that can arise from cyberattacks is fueling a growing sense of urgency:

  • Global cybercrime costs rose from $3 trillion in 2015 and are expected to reach $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025—the size of the world’s third-biggest economy after the United States and China, according to research published by Cybersecurity Ventures.
  • A majority (96%) of CEOs understand the importance of cybersecurity, acknowledging that it is a key enabler for organizational growth, stability and competitiveness.
  • Only 33% of CEOs strongly agree that they have deep knowledge of the evolving cyber threat landscape, leaving many unclear how to address the risks. And fast-moving digital innovations, such as generative AI, will likely introduce new forms of complexity.

A majority (96%) of CEOs understand the importance of cybersecurity as a key business enabler but only 33% have deep knowledge of the evolving cyber threat landscape.

The cyber-resilient CEO

Our cyber-resilient CEO action index, comprising 25 practices that measure cyber resilience, identified a small group (5%) of CEOs that lead on cybersecurity resilience. This group—we call them cyber-resilient CEOs—uses a wider lens to assess cybersecurity across their organizations including talent, innovation, sustainability and customers. 

Cyber-resilient CEOs act confidently and can detect, contain and remediate threats faster—their breach costs are around 2X to 3X lower than their peers. Cyber-resilient CEOs adopt enterprise-wide strategies to reinvent their functions and business units and embed security in their strategies from the outset.

As a result of this approach, cyber-resilient CEOs, on average, are achieving higher business value than their peers.


Lower breach costs than peers


Higher incremental revenue growth


More cost reduction improvements


Healthier balance sheet improvements

Five actions of the cyber-resilient CEO

By applying the following five actions, CEOs can shift from viewing cybersecurity as a purely technical function—handled by IT alone—to elevating it to an organization-wide priority—establishing processes for reporting and accountability from the C-suite to the board.

  1. Strategy: Embed cyber resilience in the business strategy from the start.
  2. Talent and culture: Establish shared cybersecurity accountability across the organization.
  3. Technology: Secure the digital core at the heart of the organization.
  4. Ecosystems: Extend cyber resilience beyond organizational boundaries and silos.
  5. Continuous resilience: Embrace ongoing cyber resilience to stay ahead of threats.


endorse cybersecurity as a strategic business enabler


actively cultivate a cybersecurity-first culture


intend to boost their cybersecurity budget for emerging technologies


promote an enterprise-wide risk approach to protect assets and operations


enhance cyber performance benchmarks to keep pace with evolving threat landscape


Confident CEOs take charge of cybersecurity

In the face of today’s cyberthreat complexities, cybersecurity needs to be a CEO priority. It keeps business operations running smoothly, helps organization’s optimize performance and secures customer and supplier relationships. CEOs that sideline cybersecurity expose their organizations to more risk.

Download the research to explore how CEOs can minimize risk and put cyber resilience at the heart of their reinvention efforts.


Paolo Dal Cin

Global Lead – Accenture Security

Valerie Abend

Global Cyber Strategy Lead – Accenture Security

Rachel Barton

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Yusof Seedat

Global Research Lead – Accenture Security