Cybersecurity has been a major concern for businesses for a long time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption at another level. Security teams now have bigger challenges to keep up with the changing threat landscape. It’s harder to ensure compliance, manage risks and oversee the overall IT and business operations with data being used in multiple places simultaneously.
Risk management and security professionals need to understand current security trends in order to undergo effective planning and execution of their security initiatives for the year 2021. Specifically, in order to win during the next normal, security teams need to plan effective risk monitoring and management in order to ensure business continuity in a time of unanticipated threats.
Even with the invention and widespread administration of a vaccine, it will make the world a while to get back to the normal routine of pre-corona days. Hence, it’s important to plan a defensive mechanism keeping the current conditions in mind.
What is risk monitoring?
Risk monitoring is a process whereby an organization identifies, assesses and controls risks to its earnings and capital. These risks or threats can stem from a number of sources, such as legal liabilities, financial uncertainty, management errors or accidents and natural disasters. IT and data-security related risks, along with risk monitoring strategies, are not a top priority of digitized businesses. Hence, many businesses now develop risk monitoring plans which include processes to identify and control threats to their digital assets. These assets can include Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of customers, corporate data or intellectual property.
Every organization faces the risk of unanticipated harmful events that can cause it financial or reputational damage. Risk monitoring allows organizations to prepare proactively for unexpected events by minimizing risks before any such even can happen.
Let’s look at some effective risk monitoring tips that can help you plan like a pro in 2021.
1. Follow the state guidelines and warnings
In many ways, your federal, state and local government is your real guide. With overwhelmed health facilities, slow emergency response times and travel restrictions still in place, it is important to stay updated with warnings and guideless at state level to anticipate the resulting threats that may affect your business.
2. Identify the goals and objectives of your plan
Your risk monitoring plan should be based on your business priorities upon which you create the rest of the plan. If the nature of your business makes it absolutely essential to operate from a physical location, devise your plan around this requirement. On the other hand, if your business can operate online without a physical location, your objective should be to reallocate your business resources to focus on its growth online.
3. Prepare a risk preparedness team
It’s important to keep your employees well-prepared for times of emergency. However, in order to implement a successful risk monitoring plan, there should be a team dedicated to proactively handling risks as they arise. Carefully choose the members of your preparedness team and hold regular meetings with them to ensure that the risk monitoring plan is updated according to current and future business threats. Also, make the team carry out stress tests on your business to find out how prepared you are.
4. Conduct a risk assessment and business impact analysis
It’s not enough to only write down a plan on a piece of paper. In order to ensure that the plan is effective, you need to conduct a risk assessment. Identify the vulnerable spots in the business and threats faced by you in order to further strengthen your risk monitoring plan and to ensure that your business is protected.
5. Identify essential functions of your business
In every business, some functions are more important than others. For instance, selling your goods is a mandatory business function, but coming up with new marketing strategies for your social media campaign during unpredictable times is less necessary (though it’s still important). Your risk management should put more focus on protecting your fundamental functions that are needed to keep your business running. Hence, it’s important to create a priority list of your business functions.
6. Create separate plans for every priority function
After coming up with your priority functions, create individual plans for protecting each of them. This will help you identify function-specific threats and focus on safeguarding each important function during times of disruption.
7. Re-assess risks associated with third parties
It’s important to continuously monitor and update your risks associated with countries your third-party suppliers operate in. If you still haven’t, it’s time to search and keep alternative sources for your supply chain’s critical components ready in case your regular suppliers are unable to operate.
8. Train your staff, test, and update your plan
This is an integral step to effectively regulate your plan. This is because devising a risk monitoring plan alone is not enough and you need to ensure that your employees understand and implement it in their work routines. Once you train your staff but plan to test and see where they lack. Are they ready to act during a time of emergency? If not, train them further, test and update your plan till all your employees are on the same page.
Above all, be prepared
Earlier this year when the world was celebrating the dawn of 2020, nobody could predict how a single virus could bring the whole world to its knees and what impact it could have on business all over the globe. Regardless of how foreseeable a disaster is, you must be prepared at all times to effectively respond in times of trouble without disrupting your business.