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2022 Global Digital Trust Insights Survey

The C-suite guide to simplifying for cyber readiness, today and tomorrow


Organisations know that cyber risks are increasing. More than 60% expect a surge in reportable incidents next year above 2021 levels. Already, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the worst on record for cybersecurity. Over the 2020–21 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 67,500 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous financial year.

Ever more sophisticated attackers are plumbing the dark corners of our systems and networks, seeking — and finding — vulnerabilities. Whatever the nature of an organisation’s digital Achilles’ heel — an unprotected server, a weakness in remote access or lack of cyber awareness — attackers will use every means at their disposal, traditional as well as ultra-sophisticated, to exploit it.

The consequences of an attack rise as our systems’ interdependencies grow more complex. Critical infrastructure is especially vulnerable. The results of an attack go further than financial loss and include the potential for prolonged outages impacting essential services, health, safety and national security.

Yet, many of the breaches we’re seeing are still preventable with sound cyber practices and strong controls.

Simplifying cyber

As digital connections multiply, they form increasingly complex webs that grow more intricate with each new technology. Having a smartphone enables us to carry a variety of “devices” — telephone, camera, calendar, TV, health tracker, an entire library of books, and so much more — in our pocket, simplifying our lives in many ways and letting us work on the go.  The Internet of Things lets us perform myriad tasks by uttering a simple command, enables factories to all but run themselves, and lets our healthcare providers monitor our health from a distance. 

But the processes needed to manage and maintain all these connections — including cybersecurity — are getting more complicated, too.

Is the business world now too complex to secure? Australian business leaders are sounding the alarm. Some 78% of Australian respondents to our 2022 Global Digital Trust Insights Survey say that too much avoidable, unnecessary organisational complexity poses “concerning” cyber and privacy risks.

But because some complexities are necessary, your enterprise shouldn’t streamline and simplify its operations and processes thoughtlessly, but consciously and deliberately.

This 2022 Global Digital Trust Insights Survey offers the C-suite a guide to simplifying cyber with intention. It focuses on four questions that tend to get short shrift but, if properly considered, can yield significant dividends.

These questions may surprise and even challenge you because, in a survey about data trust, they aren’t technology-centered. Technology, in itself, is not the answer to simplified security.

This is why our focus is on working together as a unified whole, from the technology stack to the board room — starting at the top with the CEO. Security is a concern for the entire business, in every function and for every employee.


78% of executives report too much complexity in their organisations, leading to ‘concerning’ cyber and privacy risks.

The four questions leaders should be asking are:

Can the CEO make a difference to your organisation’s cybersecurity?

Make ‘simply secure’ your business mantra.

Is your organisation too complex to secure?

Be deliberate about simplicity and simplification.

Are you securing against the most important risks today and tomorrow?

Size up your risks — using data you can trust — to realise opportunities.

How well do you know the risks posed by your third parties and supply chain?

Shrink the large blind spot hiding the risks in your business relationships.

About the survey

The 2022 Global Digital Trust Insights is a survey of 3,602 business, technology, and security executives (CEOs, corporate directors, CFOs, CISOs, CIOs, and C-Suite officers) conducted in July and August 2021. Female executives make up 33% of the sample. 

Sixty-two per cent of respondents are executives in large companies ($1 billion and above in revenues); 33% are in companies with $10 billion or more in revenues. 

Respondents operate in a range of industries: tech, media, telecom (23%), Industrial manufacturing (22%), financial services (20%), retail and consumer markets (16%), energy, utilities and resources (8%), health (7%), and government and public services (3%).

Respondents are based in various regions: Western Europe (33%), North America (26%), Asia Pacific (18 %), Latin America (10 %), Eastern Europe (4%), Middle East (4%), and Africa (4%).

The Global Digital Trust Insights Survey is formally known as the Global State of Information Security Survey (GSISS).

PwC Research, PwC’s global Centre of Excellence for market research and insight, conducted this survey.

 Australian respondents

The total number of respondents from Australia was 114 executives (38 CEOs and 76 corporate directors, CFOs, CISOs, CIOs, and C-Suite officers).

Of the Australian respondents, 53% were business executives while 47% were technology and security executives. Female executives made up 46% of the sample.

Seventy-nine percent of Australian respondents are executives in large companies ($US1 billion and greater in revenues); 21% are in companies with less than $US1 billion.

Respondents operate under various ownership structures: 49% of Australian respondents are from privately owned companies. Of those, 13% of respondents are from family run companies, 54% of respondents are from companies backed by private equity, 16% of respondents are from partnerships, 16% of respondents are from owner-managed companies and 2% of respondents accounted for ‘Other’ structures. With the remaining 51% consisting of publicly listed companies (46% of respondents) and G&PS (4% of respondents).

Contact us

Mike Cerny

Partner, Cybersecurity & Digital Trust, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 6866

Peter Malan

Partner, Cybersecurity & Digital Trust, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 413 745 343

Rick Crethar

Chief Risk Officer and Cyber & Digital Trust Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 7809