The major risks facing businesses in 2023


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Specialist risk consultancy, Control Risks, has said that businesses will face a historically deep set of risks in 2023 – a reality which could bring myriad interconnected and existential threats across geographies and sectors.

Launching its annual Risk Map forecast – which features the Top Risks for business – Control Risks pointed to a combination of fractious geopolitics, armed conflict, disrupted energy systems, economic strife and disarray in digital networks during the coming year, with cyber risk at the top.

In 2023, expect the emergence of a fundamental breakdown of global networks into distinct regional, or even national architectures, caused by the weaponisation of cyberspace and a clash of national interests.

The ambition of operating a single, global network will be significantly challenged. Enabled by an expanded attack surface and a significant increase in automation across the entire spectrum of cyber-threats, the cyber arms race will accelerate in 2023.

In parallel to this weaponisation, states are looking to exert more control over what some have already defined as their national cyberspace. Network and system resilience will be tested like never before in 2023.

Control Risks’ CEO, Nick Allan, warned: “In the fragmenting world order, the weapons of choice for many states will be found in the cyber sphere. This will either be through the spread of disinformation, aided by improving deepfake technology or through cyber-attacks – or both.

“As a firm that works in both the geopolitical and cyber arenas, Control Risks can see very clearly the direct correlation between geopolitical tensions and cyber aggression. An element of uncertainty and fear provides a level of state-versus-state deterrence, but corporates find themselves as easier targets for proxy and real wars.

“This is made worse by the transfer of military-grade cyber capabilities to criminal or radicalised groups.

“2023 will see more geopolitical and economic volatility accompanied by operational challenges in energy and digital networks. The increasingly apparent effects of a changing climate will add additional stresses and strains. Resilience, insight, and courage will be the watchwords for business in the year ahead.”

Supporting the Top Risks for 2023 is a new map, the Global Risk Forecast, showing a holistic business risk rating for the countries of the world that draws on a selection of risks. The composite score includes Control Risks’ political, security, operational, regulatory, cyber and integrity risks and includes a range of ESG-related risks.

Each rating reflects Control Risks’ outlook for overall risks to business to the end of 2023, taking into account known or anticipated trends and developments that could impact the business environment.

The other four Top Risks for business in 2023 were:

  • Operational Risk - Managing while adapting: Surviving the energy disruption 
  • Regulatory Risk - Economic headwinds bring regulatory turbulence 
  • Geopolitical Risk – Defiance, decoupling and deconfliction in the US / China relationship
  • Security Risk - War, and all that goes with it 

The 2023 Risk Map is live now, featuring multimedia content on the Top Risks and the new interactive Global Risk Forecast map with forecasts for specific countries and regions and a CEO view from Allen.

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