EXCLUSIVE: The need for flexibility and innovation in risk management

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Gregoire Pinton, Managing Director, Head of Integrated Risk Management at Crisis24, a GardaWorld company, discusses how to reshape risk management.

The risk landscape

Risk management for organizations and individuals involves the forecasting and evaluation of risks in order to create and inform actions to mitigate their impact.

In an increasingly complex global environment with a wide variety of risks, it is a crucial practice for businesses and offices to employ to safeguard their people, assets and operations across the globe.

Over the last ten years, risk management has undergone a profound transformation due to three major factors: cybersecurity risk, the widespread adoption of distributed workforces spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing prevalence of meteorological risks and climate-related events.

These factors have forced organizations to adapt their risk management strategies to navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape, leading to a reshaping of risk management practices over the last decade.

The modern landscape

The digital age has brought with it unprecedented opportunities but has also introduced a new breed of risks – cyber-threats.

Cybersecurity breaches, data breaches and ransomware attacks have become commonplace, posing significant risks to organizations across industries.

Consequently, risk management has evolved to prioritize cybersecurity as a central concern.

Over the last decade, organizations have invested heavily in cybersecurity measures, from advanced threat detection tools to employee training programs.

Risk assessment models now incorporate cyber-risk as a critical component, acknowledging the potential devastation that a data breach can inflict on a company’s reputation and financial stability.

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an abrupt and widespread shift toward remote or distributed workforces.

This change not only transformed the way businesses operate but also introduced a host of new risks.

Organizations had to adapt to managing remote teams, safeguarding sensitive data in decentralized environments and ensuring business continuity amid a global crisis.

Risk management strategies expanded to encompass employees in transit for work, but also now need to encompass domestic and static employees.

Whereas a company may have previously been overseeing a handful sites regrouping its employees, organizations now may have thousands of locations to oversee, some with only a single employee to which they still have a duty of care.

In addition, risks have evolved beyond simple security, expanding into medical areas as well.

Turnkey and comprehensive solutions that manage all aspects of people’s safety will need to become the norm.

Meteorological risks and climate-related events have surged to the forefront of risk management considerations over the last decade.

Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, wildfires and flooding, have become more frequent and severe, posing a significant threat to businesses, especially those with extensive physical assets or global supply chains.

Risk management has adapted by incorporating climate risk assessments and resilience planning into its framework.

Companies are now assessing their exposure to climate-related risks, implementing sustainability initiatives and considering the long-term impacts of climate events on their operations and supply chains.

The current trends

These evolutions in risks have led to three emerging needs in risk management for organizations:

  1. speed of information
  2. hyperlocal relevance of information
  3. the flexibility to customize and adapt risk management solutions to specific needs

These needs are often best met by using risk management systems or platforms to digest information feeds and alert users to emerging risks.

In order to deliver speed, risk management solutions must now integrate AI capabilities allowing the intake and synthesis of multiple concurrent streams of information and data.

However, while many risk management platforms incorporate AI sources, it is important to select solutions where the sources have been vetted and/or curated by human intelligence teams.

Without this step, unfiltered data is not overly useful.

Local relevance is also a key requirement in today’s world of risk management. Distributed workforces and operations add complexity to the job of any risk and security team.

However, a strong risk management system will deliver intel that is practical, locally relevant and therefore actionable.

Businesses and offices need to make crucial decisions related to safeguarding their assets and operations each day and risk intel should be useful in helping them take proactive, mitigating action.

One of the greatest challenges in risk management that risk managers and security officers face is having to utilize multiple solutions to get a holistic risk portrait for the assets under their care.

In addition, flexible solutions that provide relevant information are hard to come by in the world of risk management.

As the world is a more complex place than ever before, a single-sized approach to risk management is destined to come up short.

The needs of every organization are unique and platforms must be customizable, adaptable and flexible to align with those needs.

Looking ahead

As we look to the future of risk management and how the practice will continue to evolve, there are two areas that spring to mind.

The first is predictive analytics with a greater emphasis on proactive awareness and prevention of risks.

Ultimately, our systems should be able to leverage past and present data to model likely scenarios, especially if they effectively couple AI and human intelligence capabilities.

This can help organizations and individuals respond to variables and determine the probability of growth or decline.

Second, for a provider of risk management services and solutions, capacity on R&D and innovation will be key.

Technology and the global risk landscape is continuously changing and our risk management methods should be continuously refined and adapted in response.

Enhanced analytics and insights on topics such as crime, terrorism, health, transportation and geopolitics, for example, may be relevant to providing local, actionable risk analysis and guidance but synthesizing and applying that data correctly requires creativity and innovation in existing systems.

Organizations will continue to need to pivot quickly to address the growing cocktail of global challenges in their risk management strategies.

To remain resilient and thrive in an ever-changing world, organizations must embrace these factors and proactively manage the associated risks.

Choosing the right provider, partner and platform that can best meet a wide range of distinct needs will be a critical factor in being caught on the front or back foot when safeguarding assets and people.

About the author

Gregoire Pinton is Managing Director, Head of Integrated Risk Management at Crisis24, a GardaWorld company and leading integrated risk management, crisis response, consulting and global protective solutions firm.

The organization recently unveiled Crisis24 Horizon, the most comprehensive risk management platform currently available.

This article was originally published in the October edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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