Managing Cyber Risk in Mergers & Acquisitions

Partner Content, Technology | Fri 10 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
aon ireland

With a near four-fold increase in ransomware attacks over the last two years, it’s no surprise that ‘cyber-attacks and data breaches’ is the main concern facing Irish businesses at present as revealed by Aon’s 2021 Global Risk Management Survey.

The survey, which gathers input from C-Suite leaders and risk managers, demonstrates how an increased reliance on technology amidst a surge in remote working together with increased investment in digital transformation has put a growing number of organisations at risk from of cyber-crime.

Cyber Risk in M&A

Pictured: Karl Curran, Head of M&A and Transactions at Aon Ireland

Karl Curran, Head of M&A and Transactions, Aon Ireland points towards the fact that cyber risk is also emerging as one of the newer threats facing Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). “All too often in the past, cyber assessment during due diligence has been absent and didn’t occur until after a merger or acquisition had been completed. Given the complexity of these transactions and competing leadership priorities, it’s understandable that a proper assessment of a company’s exposure to cyber risk can be easily overlooked.”

However, the heightened reputational risk associated with cyber-attacks is resulting in companies placing greater scrutiny on cyber security during the transaction process. There is a growing understanding that with the expansion in remote working, the growing popularity of the Cloud and explosion in the use of connected devices, there are an ever-increasing number of exposure points across a business. 

Ensuring Due Diligence

“With cyber risks evolving at speed, cybersecurity due diligence during a deal must move from only a consideration for IT teams to a high priority amongst senior executives leading the merger or acquisition,” Curran stressed. 

As one of Ireland’s leading professional services firms, Aon has been helping industry leaders to manage risks associated with merger and acquisitions. These include many of the top ten risks identified in the Global Risk Management Survey. 

From supply chain failure to cash flow issues, CEOs and CFOs need to be aware of risks which could easily undermine the value of a transaction. By pinpointing these risks in advance of a deal closing, Aon can help leaders to make better business decisions which will best protect their growing company.  

Looking to the Future 

As the pandemic has highlighted, risk can move from a future concern to an immediate business threat. That’s why businesses are being encouraged to not only safeguard against the risks they face today, but also the future risk which could impact their success. 

Although Ireland’s business community will undoubtedly continue to see M&A deals undermined in the months and years ahead due to a lack of cybersecurity due diligence, those organisations who are armed with the knowledge of cybersecurity vulnerabilities will be in a more powerful position at the negotiation table. 

For more insights into the top current and future risks facing leaders in Ireland, check out the results of the Aon 2021 Global Risk Management Survey at: https://aon.io/3CPFad7