Each year the Business Record gets the pulse on key issues affecting the region’s business community from our audience. Our annual survey asks business leaders to share what they feel are some of the top issues affecting business in Central Iowa, and in particular the Greater Des Moines region. 

Below, we’ve published a glimpse of what readers think about cyber attack defense, remote working and autonomous vehicles in 2020. View some of the 2019 responses we featured in innovationIOWA, and subscribers may view the full Leaders Survey responses and guest editor commentary at www.businessrecord.com

How prepared do you perceive Iowa businesses/governments to be in protecting or defending against a cyber attack? (Scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not prepared at all.)

A wide-scale cyber attack could be the next pandemic – we know it can happen and we are likely not as prepared as collectively we should be. Jeff Russell, CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa

Just not something I’m concerned with in my business. Ted Grob, president, Savannah Homes Inc. 

Being a cyber criminal is a full-time job, almost no small business has a full-time cyber defender, most contract the work to an outside group. Government technology is so old, it’s likely vulnerable to threats. Jessica Dunker, president and CEO, Iowa Restaurant Association

Many small business owners think that because they are a small business, they do not have to take cyber security seriously. In fact, most cyber attacks occur to small to medium size businesses. Boyd Bauer, senior relationship manager, Heartland Payment Systems

Needs improvement. Younger generations are too trusting of a cyber lifestyle. Carol Olson, state director, United States Senate — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley

Agree or Disagree: Remote working (for industries where it’s possible) increases employee productivity. 

Agree: 27.27%
Disagree: 30.30%
I’m not sure: 42.42%

We CANNOT think about it like this. Each organization has unique work DNA and it must be understood so that dynamic work processes can be put in place that take advantage of distributed work, mobility, domestic and international resources. We cannot consider it as one or the other. Kevin Schlueter, owner, WPA

While there was an immediate boost in the perception of productivity, our customers are sharing with us a desire to return to their office to facilitate collaboration, coaching, and culture building. An isolated workforce is more transient and less loyal to their employer. Adam Kaduce, senior vice president, R&R Realty Group

If there’s child care available for those with children at home, I do think it makes employees more productive. If workers are isolated and alone, that may not be the case. I do more now in one day than I did six months ago. Suzanne Behnke, executive director, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch.org

How comfortable would you be with autonomous vehicles driving on Des Moines’ roads? (Scale of 1-10, 1 being not comfortable at all)

2020: 5.36
2019: 6.00

I feel the law has not caught up with the technology when it relates to accident liability. Katie Fergus, president, PractiSynergy

The adoption of autonomous vehicles and more flexible work arrangements may make smaller communities in our region a more viable place to live as it would change how we look at our ‘daily commute.’ Joe Sorenson, vice president of affiliate relations, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

Autonomous vehicles have yet to be proven out as a broadly accepted and safe travel alternative, but once the technology is proven, autonomous vehicles should theoretically be safer than our current transportation environment. Jed Gammell, vice president of insurance and financial services, Lincoln Savings Bank