Security Risk Management – A Complete Introduction

Creating and implementing an effective security risk management process and policy prevents operational disruptions, reduces liability, and better supports safety measures. Let’s examine how innovative companies use corporate security risk management solutions to guide their decisions and achieve mission success.

The most robust security risk management program lowers risk; however, it’s impossible to eliminate all vulnerabilities and exposure. As a result, all businesses and organizations must accept some risk, whether operating in various countries or online. Risk management allows organizations to understand and proactively take steps to prevent or mitigate potential risks. This security risk management guide explores physical and cyber strategies to mitigate threats and keep people and assets safe.

What Is Security Risk Management?

We use the term corporate security risk management to describe how organizations protect their profits, property, people, and other critical assets. Effective risk management identifies threats, both known and unknown, and builds strategies to address any potential liabilities. Leading companies recognize the importance of security risk management policies around everything from financial uncertainty, like currency fluctuations, to how they protect their intellectual property. Security risk management typically involves an organization’s approach to internal and external security threats.

In identifying and assessing security risks, corporate leaders minimize their impact and reduce the possibility of disruption to normal operations. Each organization faces similar challenges, like crime, shrinkage, and insider threats, but they must also confront difficulties specific to their industries and regions.

Physical vs. Cyber Security Risk Management

In the current business environment, security risk management is usually categorized into physical security risk management and cyber security risk management. Traditionally, corporations housed two separate teams to manage each security risk management function. Often, organizational leaders maintained loose ties between groups, but they remained siloed, and there was relatively little collaboration. Physical security risk management handled issues like badging, CCTVs, emergency response, investigations, protective intelligence, and executive protection, while risk management in cyber security protected the company from threats online or in their networks.

Over the past two decades, however, physical and cyber security risk management converged, and modern risks are likely to draw them even closer together. Thoughtful security leaders understand that many physical security threats emerge in the cyber realm, whether a dangerous person of interest (POI) or a disgruntled employee accessing sensitive office locations to steal sensitive proprietary information.

Spotting risks, like insider threats, requires a team approach from both cyber and physical security risk management professionals. When cyber and physical teams work together, they reduce risk exposure to the organization and enhance incident response.

Why Security Risk Management Is Important to an Organization

Organizations apply security risk management principles to identify and address both known and unknown risks. Known risks, while challenging, are relatively straightforward; most businesses do an excellent job of overcoming known security issues. For example, better lighting, increased guard presence, and access control can lower the threat of theft or assault in a mall parking lot or hotel. Similarly, companies identify valuable assets and add security layers to protect them as part of their security risk management plan.

Types of Security Risk Management

Security risk management does the following:

  • Creates a safe working environment
  • Protects high-value assets
  • Deters crime
  • Safeguards reputation
  • Ensures business continuity
  • Limits legal liability
  • Facilitates growth

Unknown risks present a more complex challenge for businesses as they deploy security risk management solutions because it’s hard to know how to apply appropriate resources. Security managers must weigh the potential risks and their impact to decide on the right security risk management policies. Unfortunately, unknown risks can inflict catastrophic damage to a business. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, caused unprecedented supply chain and physical safety problems that put most security risk management teams and business continuity professionals to the test.

Security risk management services allow businesses to monitor and reduce known risks and plan for unknown risks to control financial, safety, and legal impacts. With proven security risk management tools, security professionals and counterparts across the company meet challenges head-on to protect their people, assets, and interests.

What Is Enterprise Security Risk Management Software?

Increasingly, organizations turn to enterprise risk management software to help them create and deploy policies that move the security management needle. Leading security risk management software facilitates risk assessment and provides a proactive tool for decision-making and threat response.

Enterprise security risk management software captures a holistic view of a company or organization with its assets, employees, global footprint, strategic partners, and other stakeholders. The best enterprise security risk management tools spot threats and connect important information to assess the potential for meaningful harm. They’re housed in the secure cloud that delivers critical information to the people who need it as they investigate cases and assess risks.

Here are some of the main benefits of high-quality enterprise security risk management software:

Flexible Custom Experiences

How a Fortune 100 company approaches security risk management will likely vary greatly from the security risk management strategy of a small startup with U.S. operations. There are fewer people and assets to worry about, and there are probably fewer security resources available.

Using effective security risk management software allows organizations of all sizes to build custom shared platforms that fit the needs of their businesses. They must be nimble enough to meet threats quickly and offer the depth larger companies need to manage enterprise risk.

Real-Time Analytics

Many large companies pay for data feeds that alert them when there’s an earthquake in Japan or political protests in Brazil. These feeds, when appropriately used, pinpoint events, whether they’re changes in crime trends or a terrorist attack, that may impact a business’ people or operations. Valuable enterprise security risk management software delivers quality information on time to help leaders make important risk management decisions.

Speed for Enhanced Security Risk Management

Of course, all of the beneficial features of a good enterprise security risk management software solution combine to make alerts, threat assessment, and incident response faster. One of the main advantages of having access to live data feeds and always-on cloud platforms is you can shrink the time necessary to gather information, produce reports, escalate, and otherwise react. For example, with Ontic’s security risk management tools, nearly 80% of clients said it takes less time to create and share insights related to risk management. When the safety or the health of a company is at risk, time matters greatly.

Different Types of Security Risk Management

Frequently, corporations group security risk management into three categories:

Physical security risk management

Cyber security risk management

Information security risk management

Let’s briefly explain what each is and why they are a critical component of any effective enterprise security strategy.

Physical Security Risk Management

Physical security managers are responsible for taking care of people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) and physical assets (buildings, cars, products). Every team varies; some physical security teams shoulder responsibility for protecting high-value assets, insider threats, information security, and other functions. Traditionally, however, life safety and physical security (guards and gates) have been the responsibility of risk management and corporate security professionals.

Cyber Security Risk Management

Cyber security risk management shares many similarities with physical security, only they specialize in cyber attacks coming from bad actors, handling flaws in their code, and facing other online threats. Just like physical security, cyber security risk management professionals conduct risk assessments, monitor risks, implement controls, and continually adapt their posture to meet the current threat environment.

Information Security Risk Management

Information security risk management, or IRSM, relates to how an organization deals with its information technology, like servers and other devices, networks, and data. These days, many of a company’s most vital assets are digital. Thus, security teams must deploy resources to safeguard everything from a cooking recipe to its financial assets. Sometimes, cybersecurity and information security risk management are used interchangeably, but on a fundamental level IRSM and IT risk protect internal networks, while cybersecurity experts shield an organization from hackers and other exploits.

Who Is Responsible for Risk Management in an Organization?

Every company varies in how they approach and manage security risk management. In larger organizations, the board of directors or the CEO appoints a Chief Risk Officer (CRO). In other businesses, security strategy falls under the chief financial officer.

Typically, established companies will name a chief security officer, or CSO, to manage physical security. They’re in charge of things like:

  • Investigations
  • Incident Management Teams
  • Regional Security Operations
  • Security Training & Situational Awareness
  • Executive Protection
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Protective Intelligence

On the cyber side, a chief information security officer, or CISO, is another senior-level employee that usually manages both information security risk management and cyber security risk management.

Will Risk Management Be Automated?

The prospect of automated risk management is attractive to companies because it reduces human error and often works faster than traditional risk management processes. In addition, automated security risk management offers greater data capture that provides insights into how companies work and can improve operations.

For instance, the use of simple badges to access workspaces generates data that tells a company where people go and when. As a result, they can optimize spaces, deploy appropriate security measures, and make other adjustments to deliver a better work experience for employees.

The use of software, sensors, and other technologies, like emerging artificial intelligence (AI), will only increase as more options are available that mitigate risk and preserve resources. Currently, the leading security risk management platforms give security leaders unprecedented tools to identify, assess, and respond to threats. Right now, the most innovative security solutions offer some of the following automated features:

  • Incident Reports
  • Risk Assessment
  • Case Management Alerts
  • Flagging of Pre-Incident Indicators
  • Continuous Monitoring

Does Ontic Provide Security Risk Management Tools?

With automated workflows and integrated tools, Ontic’s platform is purpose-built for security professionals.

Too often, companies struggle with disparate software or old processes. As a result, silos in companies form that detract from collaboration and effective risk management. However, Ontic offers organizations a unified view of threats and the resources necessary to manage them to limit their impact on people, operations, assets, and information.

Ontic users get real-time signals from internal and external data sources; all delivered to a secure, cloud-based dashboard. There, users can manipulate and analyze data to understand where risks are coming from and how to focus on them appropriately.

Leveraging Ontic’s integrated research suite and its other security risk management features generates actionable intelligence that makes physical security decisions easier. They also reduce capital expenses significantly, allowing companies to manage risk efficiently from anywhere.

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