What does a holistic risk management strategy include?

Managing risk in your organization is essential to your existence. As businesses have become almost entirely dependent on technology because of COVID-19, failing to manage risks can be detrimental to your business. On average, it takes most companies take nearly 6 months to detect a data breach, even major ones. If there is no strategy in place, your business could be in the dark about their data loss for half a year. This also affects your reputation, and potentially could cause you to lose customers.

Treating risk management and reduction as a tick-box exercise isn’t enough. To make your efforts effective, you need to create a holistic risk management strategy. Here are some of the components such strategies need to feature:

Employee spirit

Every person who works for you plays a role in reducing risks. Around 90% of cybersecurity breaches arise as a result of human error. Although you won’t be able to eliminate human error entirely, you can significantly reduce the effect that it has.

The recommended way to make your employees more effective at reducing security risks is to generate an enthusiasm for risk management at the board level, partner, C-level and management. When employees can see that board members are driven by the idea of tighter security, they’re more likely to embrace better risk management practices themselves.

Addressing patterns

It’s rarely the case that an exposed risk or breach occurs at random. When you continuously analyze events, you’ll start to see a pattern. Being able to identify and address those patterns is important, especially when you want to reduce risks for the future.

One way to detect patterns is to retrospectively review breaches. You may also want to try vulnerability detection. You can start by collecting data, once you have the data you can see patterns. There are industry standards, but every company behaves uniquely. Gather your data on a regular basis and look for areas where you’re falling short. By accepting that new risks will always arise and that they’re rarely random, you can build stronger defenses.

Reduce bias and group-think

Naturally, there are some employees and groups who are better at managing risks than others. However, that doesn’t mean they’re completely risk-free. In many respects, those who fall into the trap of thinking that risks don’t apply to them can become the riskiest individuals of all, due to self-bias.

Continue to educate all members of your workforce all potential risks to reduce the chances of self-bias. For example, around 55% of employees believe that letting a friend or family member use a company device isn’t risky. In reality, such actions could pose a significant threat to data security. If you become aware of a particular group failing to apply proper standards of risk aversion, make sure you educate them as a whole to cut out group-think.

Discover risk management opportunities

Although it’s useful to analyze patterns to find areas in which you’re not managing risks well, it isn’t a future-focused approach. In the spirit of becoming more robust on the risk management front, start looking for new opportunities.

Begin by looking at approaches that your organization doesn’t currently use. For example, off-site data storage for disaster recovery purposes. Then, look at the latest trends and technologies. Discuss whether using new technology will benefit your business with your IT team. If they feel as though the new technologies are worth investing in, take the plunge.

A holistic risk management strategy involves thinking outside the box. Always consider the human factor, i.e. addressing how your personnel approach and engage with risk. Make sure your strategy remains flexible, too. As your organization changes, so should your policies of risk management. Reach out today and let us assist you with your risk management strategy.