5 Ways to Improve Your Risk Management Strategy

5 Ways to Improve Your Risk Management Strategy

All of us—whether we’re a governmental agency, a large corporate business, or small nonprofit—need to understand the importance of a robust risk management strategy that prepares you for how to handle uncertainties and problems.

In Homeland Security, risk management is the key factor in how we make our decisions. What steps can you take to better your own strategy?

1. Use Your Resources

This day and age, we all have access to an incredible amount of information. But while we have an abundance of data to inform how to plan our risk management strategies, it’s under-analyzed and underutilized.

To do more with your data, you should examine all available data from two points of view:external and internal threats.

  • External threats are things such as a business competitor looking to steal your ideas.
  • Internal threats could be employees being careless with company data (or a situation like Snowden).

What do you already know and how can you make use of the information?

2. Two-part planning

There are two kinds of events that all risk managers must account for. First are planned events, ones that we know for sure are happening, such as the Boston Marathon. Any organization can foresee certain events that may need careful handling and you can proactively respond to these with an established risk management strategy.

Second are unplanned events. You need to make sure your risk strategy includes a blueprint for responding to unplanned events as well so everyone knows exactly what to do when an emergency happens.

3. Test Drive It 

Assess how your plan performs before both kinds of events by setting up mock situations and running through scenarios using your strategy.

What are the implications for your organization should you respond in this way? Is it appropriate? Take stock of the strengths and drawbacks of your strategy so you can see what’s effective and identify opportunities to improve.

4. Adapt

Risk management strategies need to be fluid. Static plans are just pieces of paper, and aren’t really useful. Being adaptive means continually refining your strategy so that as you assess things over time, your plan reflects your most recent thinking. Regularly review it and consider it a plan that will always evolve.

5. Communicate

This starts with buy-in, which is essential. Make sure leadership knows that risk management needs to be supported from an organization’s very top levels.

Your plan needs to be all-inclusive and disseminated to everyone, from secretaries to the president. Everyone has access to an organization’s computers and company data of some kind and communicating the repercussions of sharing this data will help everyone understand and mitigate the risks.

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About Craig Gruber

Craig Gruber, PhD, MS, is a lead faculty member in Northeastern University’s Master’s in Criminal Justice program, as well as director of the Master’s in Homeland Security program. His expertise lies in maritime domain awareness, intelligence analysis, and counter-terrorism.

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