LONDON: Global business leaders are "extremely concerned" about issues of cyber security, according to research which also indicates this area is likely to be an important consideration in the year ahead.

The finding emerged from Mobile Elite, a survey of 500 senior business executives across Europe, Asia and the US by broadcaster CNBC, tracking their use of mobile devices.

Fully 82% of this group agreed that mobile data privacy and security is a concern with 41% believing that it will be the most influential factor in driving business change during 2016.

That put it ahead of other areas such as cloud technology (35%) and mobile e-commerce (34%).

The fact that business leaders are so exercised by security issues may be related to their own increasing use of mobile devices, and not just for consuming content – they are also keen on using mobile payment systems and on remotely operating appliances at home.

But as a news organisation, CNBC has a particular interest in how this group consumes news and it found that 91% have access to news and business content via their smartphone or tablet.

And the variety and volume of news and business content consumed on these devices has increased across the board between 2014 and 2015, with access to 'news feeds' registering the highest growth for smartphones (45% to 60%).

The mobile behaviour of business leaders is in many respects much like any other user in that the device has become an intrinsic part of daily life: six in ten reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up.

But while the average user may be diving into their social media feeds to see what their friends are doing, weekday mornings are more likely to see business executives looking at news content (87%) or financial news and stock prices (71%).

Around half (51%) tuned into the TV as a result of seeing content on their smartphones and three quarters regularly engaged into dual-screening. The symbiotic relationship of mobile and TV was further illustrated in the finding that 62% of business leaders have followed up on their smartphone or tablet as a result of seeing content on TV.

CNBC's research also highlighted how business leaders are using their mobile devices to explore a connected lifestyle, with four in ten claiming to use their mobile device to operate appliances within the home.

And three quarters (74%) agreed that systems including Apple Pay and other digital wallet offerings are the future for e-commerce.

"We could be witnessing the start of the next mobile renaissance," said Mike Jeanes, director of research/EMEA at CNBC.

Data sourced from CNBC; additional content by Warc staff