Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Economy

Prioritizing the integrity agenda in times of uncertainty

Second of two parts

The difficulties of dealing with the pandemic have aggravated current integrity issues while presenting new ones for emerging markets all over the world. The emerging markets perspective of the EY Global Integrity Report, which surveyed more than 1,700 employees across all levels of large organizations in 21 emerging market countries, reveals that corruption and fraud remain major threats to long-term success for businesses in the wake of remote working conditions and regulatory scrutiny following the New Normal.

The Global Integrity Report, conducted by global market research agency Ipsos MORI, presented relevant insights into the ethical challenges the organizations faced. By considering how the respondents dealt with areas of risk, businesses may gain insights about how to overcome some of the challenges to post-pandemic recovery.

In the first part of this two-part article, we discussed the first of four key areas identified by the Integrity Report: prioritizing corporate integrity and encouraging the use of whistleblower channels. In this second part of the article, we discuss the need for an increased focus on data protection and cybersecurity, and the need to address integrity issues in third party service providers.

INCREASING FOCUS ON DATA PROTECTION AND CYBERSECURITY
Remote working during the pandemic has heightened the risk of cyber breaches, with more cyber criminals exploiting weak networks and targeting unsuspecting employees. The year 2020 saw a spike in ransomware and cyberattacks, infecting networks with malware and even selling fake COVID-19 treatments through phishing e-mails.

Data breaches can result in devastating financial and reputational consequences for an organization, making it imperative to prioritize data protection. The EY report encouragingly shares that 55% of emerging market companies address this by offering employee training on how to prevent security breaches, a higher value than the 45% of companies doing so in developed markets. Should a security breach occur, 42% have an incident response plan in place. Moreover, as much as 86% even share confidence that they are doing everything they can to protect the data of their customers.

With such high stakes, organizations should consider building a data privacy and protection framework guided and supported by the board. The increasingly sophisticated nature of cyberthreats and strict regulations result in the need to implement industry-leading practices and raise the bar to protect sensitive data. Companies can improve vigilance and identify issues by utilizing the latest technology, strengthening their virtual infrastructure, and raising cybersecurity and digital risk awareness among stakeholders. In addition, companies must consider developing thorough diagnostics scans, strong monitoring frameworks and incident response strategies.

ADDRESSING INTEGRITY ISSUES IN THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS
Though it is no mean feat to uphold integrity within an organization, external factors such as third-party partners can undermine existing efforts. The reputation of a retailer, for instance, will suffer greatly if one of its suppliers engages in malpractice, exploits loopholes, pays bribes, or engages in other similarly unethical behavior. These acts tarnish the reputation of the partnered retailer and subjects them to the high likelihood of financial loss, heavy penalties, or legal ramifications.

The integrity report reveals that emerging market companies are aware of this particular threat, but with only 35% showing confidence that their third-party partners operate with integrity. Businesses cannot afford to place just their supply chain partners under scrutiny — sources of third-party risk can be found in distributors, joint-venture partners, contractors and consultants. However, despite the added challenge of restricted operations, remote working and limited mobility, 31% of emerging market companies address this risk through training and processes that highlight third-party due diligence.

These challenging times pose an increased possibility of lapses in conducting due diligence, impeding internal reference checks, physical site visits and informal discussions that help identify potential gaps in conduct. However, this also gives companies the opportunity to reframe how they assess third-party risk. Digital solutions can be leveraged to streamline the assessment process, such as using data analytics to automate risk scoring and using automated dashboards for more efficient monitoring.

CHAMPIONING A CULTURE OF INTEGRITY
Risks to integrity have existed before and will persist beyond the pandemic. Employees may be tempted to risk the easy path regardless of accountability, cyberthreats increase in complexity and potential to expose vital data, and third-party risk creates more points of vulnerability in growing ecosystems.

The report proves that emerging market companies recognize these threats and are making progress in addressing them, but there is still much to do. Businesses must expand their scope of focus past traditional aspects of integrity such as fraud, corruption and bribery, and must include measures in environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. With more customers prioritizing businesses with ethically sound practices, it is more important than ever to champion a culture of integrity not just because it is the right thing to do, but to also create long-term value.

This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. The views and opinions expressed above are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of SGV & Co.

 

Roderick M. Vega is a Partner and the Forensic and Integrity Services (FIS) Leader of SGV & Co., and Dennis F. Antonio is an FIS Senior Manager of SGV & Co.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Investing

Virgin Orbit’s next satellite launch will take place from the UK, following the success of the “Straight Up” mission, which lifted off from Mojave...

Investing

Post Office collection and cash delivery workers are to stage a one-day strike later this month in a dispute over pay. Members of the...

Investing

UK consumers cut back on credit card borrowing in May amid fears over rising interest rates and a slowing economy driven by a cost...

Investing

London City airport is seeking to overturn its Saturday flight ban and raise by 40% the limit on its passenger numbers. A local residents’...

Investing

The bank said that it was introducing a £1,200-a-year pay increase from August 1, which would start to show in next month’s pay packets....

Investing

Postmasters caught up in the Horizon IT scandal say that they are still being “left in the dark” about a compensation package after the...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Economy

Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.