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Governance, Risk and Compliance
Most people know that IQ measures someone’s intelligence and often correlates with their professional or learning potential. However, you may not be familiar with the similar Risk Quotient (RQ) acronym. This corporate-security-related measurement determines high- or low-risk situations. Your company’s RQ also determines how to transform your threat response from the more typical risk management approach to cutting-edge risk intelligence.
The key difference between risk management and predictive risk intelligence (PRi) is PRi’s proactivity. Risk management ties key business functions together to help the risk team protect the organization. Our company shares that risk intelligence serves the same purpose. However, we think it goes a step further by using automation and “AI-driven tools to proactively identify, analyze, and address these novel risks in ways that were unthinkable even a few years ago.” Proactive prediction keeps your company safer, so it experiences fewer risk events because you can more effectively mitigate risks when you know they’re coming.
Now, you understand key differences between risk management and risk intelligence and why companies with a higher RQ choose the new approach. Here are four clear steps to help your team transition smoothly and efficiently.
Even the best risk management strategy will fail without an accurate understanding of the risks it combats. Therefore, you must first understand your company’s risks to establish a robust risk management program informed by risk intelligence.
One way to do this is to use risk assessments to identify high-threat areas for your business. Risk assessment approaches vary from company to company, depending on your industry, niche, and security specifics. However, most risk assessments use three core elements—identification, analysis, and evaluation—to survey existing risks.
For example, an information security team might notice many remote team members work from coffee shops or other shared spaces with public wi-fi and unintentionally put protected information at risk. Next, the company would analyze the severity of that risk and weigh potential consequences, scenarios, controls, and other factors to decide if it can “afford” the threat posed by employee public wi-fi usage. Finally, it would compare that risk analysis to internal criteria and determine if extra security steps (and what those steps are) could effectively mitigate that risk. In the above example, two-factor authorization or a requirement to use W2-protected wi-fi sources might work. This type of risk survey creates a baseline that risk intelligence can use to anticipate and effectively address threats.
The transition toward risk intelligence continues by understanding your existing risk management efforts and seeing where they are—and aren’t—effectively mitigating risk. This process is effectively handled by security audits, which come into play after assessments to provide a “thorough evaluation of your company’s physical, procedural, and digital security measures.” Security audits can also reveal gaps in your corporate security that allow new and evolving threats to become actual risk events. Not sure what an audit entails? Check out our recent blog post on corporate security audits and why you should regularly run them.
Deloitte highlights some critical security flaws that audits—and the PRi they inform—could highlight for improvements. Audits may include:
Using audits to find the weak points in your risk management strategy also empowers you to actively improve those weaknesses and build the foundation you need to continue making a successful risk intelligence transition.
Your company can’t fully invest in the risk intelligence transition by simply knowing its security risks and using reactive risk management to address them. PRi is an all-team effort. It can only take the place of risk management by holistically embedding risk management procedures throughout your entire company. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a complete training and cultural overhaul.
You can naturally integrate a security-first mindset into your company and make risk intelligence a natural part of your greater corporate culture. SC Magazine recommends connecting business outcomes with good security. You could also not focus on immediate results, have management lead by example, and encourage (and enforce) employees’ security responsibilities.
There are countless ways to incorporate these tips on a realistic level. This effort helps your company ease into a risk-intelligence-first mindset, and your approach should be specifically tailored to what your company and your people need. Consider offering a continuing education course on evolving IT security or have leadership reward employees for using stellar security and share the resulting progress. At the end of the day, it’s not how you embed risk intelligence into your team’s security-first mindset that matters; it’s that the mindset sticks.
What mitigates today’s risks may not be effective tomorrow. Automation’s strength, the central aspect of PRi, is the adaptability that empowers it to evolve as technology changes. However, automated tools only remain helpful if the companies using them let them do just that…change!
Informed companies can benefit from adaptable risk intelligence programs because they use that intelligence to change not just with the industry but ahead of it. Some of today’s top, tech-enabled trends include automated risk assessments, 24/7 intelligence gathering, predictive incident preparation, and more accurate measuring of risk tolerance.
Automation’s tech-enabled capabilities are vast: Many companies apply these trends to tech-enabled tools that even ease their process (and the work required by employees) to help their teams prioritize risks. Forbes says,
“Today, companies can leverage robotic process automation (RPA) tools for data collection. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can perform sentiment analysis to determine whether the data is good or bad news as well as impact analysis to determine the potential impact to the organization — low, medium or requires immediate attention.“
Modern technology empowers your business to elevate its RQ by finding new ways to incorporate risk intelligence into your existing corporate security measures. Whether you need a clearer picture of current risk, definitive proof to support your security decisions, or better asset protection, the right risk solution technology can help.