Businesses should prepare their organizations for emerging risks by using one of the most effective business continuity resources: a risk assessment. By performing a complete risk assessment and business impact analysis, risk managers and emergency preparedness professionals will better understand their biggest risks. They can then, in turn, mindfully communicate these needs throughout the organization to all employees and stakeholders and create plans to deal with them.

Your risk assessment will determine which risks you want to address and which ones you are choosing to accept.

For example, we have previously discussed three emerging risks all organizations face: Cyber threats, terrorism and pandemics. They can strike anywhere and at any time.

There are some additional risk factors that businesses need to consider. Geographic location, type of industry and access to valuable data can all make an organization more likely to be a target.

In a recent AlertFind webinar about emerging threats, business continuity expert Bob Clark said that once businesses understand this, they can better understand what risks they need to focus on.

Clark said he has found that organizations often look at each risk in isolation, which can be a mistake. As part of their risk assessment activity, he said, they should focus closely on the collective impacts associated with each risk.

“For example, if you have five separate risks – all with low probabilities of occurring – but the consequences of them happening could deny you access to your head office for an extended period, then you have a more imminent threat,” Clark said.

“If you look at that collectively, you suddenly have an increased likelihood of losing your headquarters. Consequently, you should look more seriously at identifying contingency measures to deal with this situation.”

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Now is the time to take action and update your organization’s risk assessment to reflect these emerging risks. Your organization must have a plan in place to deal with these threats before they strike.

When working on your organization’s risk assessment, local, state and federal agencies all offer information and resources to aid in your planning.

AlertFind’s ebook, Pandemics, Cyber Threats and Terrorism: Don’t Let These Emerging Threats Catch You Unprepared, provides some resources to get you started:

Terrorism

Pandemics

Cyber Threats

General Information

Agile Approaches to Risk Assessments

A proactive approach includes monitoring what emerging threats are happening globally. While there is no definitive list of threats available, the resources above can provide some guidance. Keeping a close eye on national and global news is also important. For example, a hurricane hitting Florida may not impact your business directly – but if you do business with a produce grower in that region, your operations will still be affected.

“If your country or state has a publicly available risk register, I would recommend looking there for guidance,” Clark said. “You may find that some of those state or federal threats reflect ones in your organization’s risk assessment. If not, review why you’ve ruled them out.”

To learn more from Bob Clark about how companies perform risk assessments for emerging risks, listen to our new webinar, “Pandemics, Terrorism And Cyber Attacks: Is Your Organization Ready For The Evolving Risk Landscape?”

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