Mentions of cybersecurity within the filings of companies in the power industry fell 13% between the second and third quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to cybersecurity between October 2020 and September 2021 was 104% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When companies in the power industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cybersecurity is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether cybersecurity is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the power industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned cybersecurity at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 85% compared to 68% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cybersecurity.
Of the 50 biggest employers in the power industry, Saudi Electricity Co was the company that referred to cybersecurity the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified seven cybersecurity-related sentences in the Saudi Arabia-based company's filings – 0.9% of all sentences. Prysmian SpA mentioned cybersecurity the second most – the issue was also referred to in 0.9% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high cybersecurity mentions included E.ON SE, Enel SpA, and Siemens AG.
Across all companies in the power industry, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on cybersecurity came from Meridian Energy Ltd. Of the document's 1,515 sentences, 11 (0.7%) referred to cybersecurity.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cybersecurity and how important the issue is considered within the power industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cybersecurity more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into cybersecurity have been successes or failures.
GlobalData also categorises cybersecurity mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the third quarter of 2021 was "data security", which made up 65% of all cybersecurity subtheme mentions by companies in the power industry.