Forrester Report: Boards of Directors Need to Make Better Use of Boardroom Technology

A global survey targeting governance professionals across 11 countries reveals multiple areas of vulnerability and technology misuse.

Today's executive board members and governance professionals are expected to manage critical issues like cyber risk, regulation, culture and ethics alongside the constant pressure to drive business performance. With the stakes higher than ever, boards cannot rely on outdated approaches to keeping their sensitive board information and materials safe from cyberattacks.

Diligent commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate global executive board governance practices and shed light on how professionals are stacking up against each other in adopting technology into their workflow and end to end governance management. After conducting a survey targeting governance professionals across 11 countries, we found that board members and governance professionals are practicing some shockingly dangerous practices—leaving boards open to a potential barrage of cyberattacks.

Dive into the data below and see how you stack up against over 400 governance professionals.

50% of directors around the globe discuss sensitive board materials via personal channels, leaving their boards vulnerable against cyber attacks

Technology is an ever-present medium in the boardroom and misuse of technology in the boardroom can put your organization at risk. In fact, a majority of boards of directors still use personal email to communicate about sensitive board materials. Usage of personal email was high across all regions – North America at 53%, EMEA at 51% and APAC at 40%.

graphic_poor_security_4 Video Conferencing 58% Conference Calls 55% Business- Regulated Emails 55% Personal Email 50% File-Sharing Services 48% InstantMessaging 47% Closed-Loop Director Instant Messaging 35% Executive Board Communication Service 33% Certified Mail 27%

Can your technology provider ensure that your data is protected with a lost device?

Lost devices and misplaced board books are the most common security breaches for board members. Nearly 30% of board members lose or misplace their phone, tablet or computer in a given year. Without the right tool that offers the ability to "remotely wipe" a device, boards risk exposing confidential information to the public domain or people with malicious intent.

What's your biggest fear?

Boards mostly fear allegations of fraud or corruption, cyber incidents and compliance violations being discussed publicly

15% of boards are concerned about cyber incidents

Cyber incidents and compliance violations ranked as the highest areas of concern due to lack of visibility and technology gaps. This is compounded by the unease board members have with the mishandling of personal data.

Boards use many types of technology to manage their board meetings

In today’s boardroom, even with the risk of cybersecurity, boards still use unsecure private email and pdfs to manage their boardroom documents. Only a third of boards are using virtual data rooms while another third are still using paper board books, which pose several risks including being misplaced. Paper packets are also more frequently out of date without the ability to easily update something that has already been mailed out before a board meeting. graphic_board_tech-15 Email &PDFs 71% Video Conferencing 67% ConferenceCalls 59% Virtual Data R ooms 34% P aper P ac k ets 29% Project Management T ools 39%

Less than a third of governance responsibilities are easily solved today using board management technology.

45% of governance professionals, which includes board members, general counsels, corporate secretaries and investor relation staff, believe that their compliance requirements are being met. 42% of those polled believe that board collaboration is streamlined through the right technologies. However, only 36% believe that technology alleviates confusion, which means that proper training still needs to be conducted to get the most out of board management software.

Technology that provides end-to-end governance yields critical benefits.

Directors and governance professionals identified what processes could be most impacted by using technology and how a better understanding of technology can solve the greater needs of boards of directors. The top needs that board members believed technology could solve include:

  • Streamlining communication and document access
  • Meeting compliance requirements to avoid fraudulent activity
  • Increasing data access for more agile decision-making

Demographics at a Glance

Company Size

Number of employees in the organization

graphic_demographic_1 4% - 100 - 499 17% 500 - 999 18% 5,000 - 19,999 15% - 20,000+ 46% 1,000 - 4,999

Countries Surveyed

Regions where we conducted the survey

Respondent Profiles

Demographics of the report

Download the full report to take a deeper dive into the data.