Companies need to deploy proactive risk management programs if they want to remain safe amid the evolution of the threat landscape. As cybersecurity threats continue to grow unabated, decision-makers who fail to implement the proper precautionary strategies will likely fall victim to attack, corrupting or exposing mission-critical information and solutions.
A recent report by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG revealed the ongoing changes to regulatory compliance require companies to take a new approach to risk management. However, only 16 percent of survey respondents at the recent RSA Archer GRC Summit said they utilize automated risk management practices to mitigate concerns associated with data security and other global trends.
Companies failing to use automation
Approximately 40 percent of business executives said regulatory requirements strongly influence their enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) practices. Risk mitigation, the ability to improve performance and the opportunity to cut costs have encouraged companies to adjust ERM policies, yet nearly two-thirds of respondents said their ERM programs are still manual.
"The number of respondents using the low-tech approach to managing risk surprised us, particularly when most organizations have placed such an incredible focus on their enterprise-wide risk management processes after more than a decade of complex regulatory change and financial crises," KPMG U.S. principal Greg Bell said.
IT may help reduce risk
The study also noted that the growing volume of information gathered through new resources is increasing risks and the need to leverage IT to enhance data protection. By utilizing innovative technologies, decision-makers will be able to use analytics more effectively to mitigate internal and external risk to potentially gain a competitive advantage over firms neglecting to take precautionary measures in the presence of new threats.
The emergence of big data is changing how companies operate, as the large volumes of information can give key insight into consumer behavior. Improperly managing this data, however, can introduce new risk management and cybersecurity problems that were traditional irrelevant, according to a separate Network Computing report.
"Typically, there's a trade-off between availability of data for knowledge workers and the confidentiality of that data. If you want more availability, you usually have less security and confidentiality," encryption and data security expert Todd Thiemann said, according to Network Computing. "Or if it's sensitive stuff and you need more confidentiality around it, availability is going to suffer and your knowledge workers won't be able to access it as rapidly."
By improving ERM programs, organizations can raise awareness of sensitive information, deploy more robust security tools and worry less about the evolving cyber risk landscape. Unfortunately, only 17 percent of organizations in KPMG's survey said they have a formal ERM training and awareness program. Another 40 percent said they "somewhat" have a curriculum in place, while an overwhelming 43 percent said they have no training process.
Compliance necessary for ERM programs
Compliance, while often regarded as a difficult and expensive process, is necessary for data security and risk management programs to be effective. A separate report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), however, noted that few organizations are using technology to their advantage to achieve compliance.
"Technology is still not enabling governance, risk and compliance the way it could," PwC Advisory practice principal Sally Bernstein said. "Many companies are still not leveraging for efficiencies. Even worse is that at the same time, technology – social media and the explosion of data and devices – is making compliance more complex."
As organizations move forward in today's highly technology-dependent business world, it will be increasingly important they leverage innovative solutions and processes to enhance risk management programs.
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