Developing a Risk Management Policy

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If you want to focus on business growth, developing a risk management strategy is the first step to ensuring that technical failures, natural disasters, or other catastrophes don’t slow your business down.

At Be Structured, we think of risk as anything harmful or undesirable that can happen to your information technology platform and slow your small or medium-sized business down. Risk management is, therefore, the process by which you can cost-effectively protect your business operations, employees, and clients by identifying, mitigating, and preparing predetermined responses to disasters.

As always, managed service providers (MSP) can help you take your disaster recovery strategies to the next level. However, if you aren’t sure what that may look like, these eight fundamental steps are designed to get you started.

The Risk Management Process

1. Understand Your Risk Landscape

The logical first step to developing a risk management strategy is identifying, assessing, and document potential risks and how likely your business is to experience them. When clarifying context, you should be sure to identify risks together with:

  • The scope of risk (how widespread of an impact a disaster may have)
  • Key stakeholders (who may be impacted in the event of a catastrophe)
  • Existing resources (any current assets that may be of help during/after a disaster)
  • Ideal objective (what would be the ideal outcome following a given disaster)

As you’re pinpointing risks and their likelihood, you can get as detailed as necessary for each of these four key factors.

2. Identify the Root Causes of Risks

When thinking about risk management, the best outcome is a risk that you were able to avert. The next best scenario is the risk that you were prepared to respond to. As such, the next step is to clarify the root causes of likely threats.

Is there anything you can do right now to mitigate the chance of these risk crippling your business? For example, could a cloud computing platform reduce the risk of critical data loss following a fire that destroys your server room?

By identifying the root causes of disasters, you can take a proactive approach to catastrophes.

3. Assess Risks

Once risks and their root causes have been identified, you need to outline severity and probability. You can use measurable metrics to quantify these factors and a chart to prioritize risk management and disaster recovery strategies.

As you probably guessed, you’ll want to place more importance on a disaster with high risk and high stakes than a low-risk disaster. Because you likely won’t be able to deploy disaster recovery solutions all at once, the goal of the assessment stage is to help you clarify what needs to be addressed first along with which scenarios aren’t as critical.

4. Decide on Emergency Responses

Once you’ve identified and assessed your business’s risk, it’s time to start nailing down potential solutions and responses. Three general responses include:

  1. Avoidance or risk reduction: See Identify Root Causes above
  2. Retention: Accepting loss as it occurs
  3. Transfer: Finding another party to absorb the risk, like an insurance agency or IT partner

When deciding on an ideal response, you should weigh costs, benefits, and leverage one or more of these approaches to protect your business operations.

5. Develop a Risk Management Plan

A risk management plan can be as general or as detailed as you want. From breaking down each step that each employee needs to follow in the event of a catastrophe to a general outline of what needs to be done on a company-wide scale, having a written plan is critical to ensuring that everyone understands how to quickly respond following a disaster.

6. Deploy Risk Strategies

Once you’ve developed a concrete risk management plan, deploy your strategy by setting it down in writing, training your team members as needed, and installing the necessary infrastructure upgrades. Training is key to ensuring that everyone is made aware of your new policies and risk management procedures. The key to a successful risk management policy is ensuring that there are no surprises in the event that a disaster strikes.

7. Practice Disaster Responses

For more hands-on disaster preparedness plan, run regular practice drills to ensure that everyone on your team knows exactly what to do during and after a catastrophe. By practicing your disaster recovery, everyone will have the instinctual response to fulfill their role, minimizing operational downtime and getting your business back on track as soon as possible.

8. Evaluate, Review, and Evolve

As time unfolds, you’ll likely discover that your initial plans have room for improvement. In order to adapt to an ever-changing risk landscape, you need to continually adjust your risk management policy. As existing risk evolve and new threats emerge, your team needs to stay ahead to ensure that your business experiences continued growth by mitigating risk.

Los Angeles IT Support

If you’re a small or medium-sized business in the Los Angeles area, and you want to take your disaster preparedness to the next level, the team at Be Structured is here to help. Contact our experts today, and we’ll work with you to leverage the latest network solutions like cloud services, so you’re even better prepared for the unexpected.

Be Structured’s Trusted Tools

Our team has experience with working with a variety of risk management software programs. Each one of our clients has unique needs and budgets and we work to determine which programs will best address their needs. This list highlights some of the most popular IT services we work with, but don’t hesitate to contact us to learn about our experience with additional software and recommendations for your business:

  1. Professional Services Automation (PSA/Ticket System/CRM):
    1. Datto (Formerly known as Autotask PSA)
  2. Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM)
    1. Datto RMM (Primary – Formerly known as Autotask Endpoint Management or AEM and before that Centrastage)
    2. Kaseya (Secondary)
  3. Monitoring
    1. LogicMonitor
    2. RMM’s above do monitoring as well.
  4. Dashboards/Reporting
    1. BrightGauge (primary)
    2. LogicMonitor
    3. AutoTask
  5. Security
    1. WebRoot (AV/AM Primary)
    2. Windows Defender (AV/AM Secondary)
    3. SonicWALL (with Advanced Gateway Security Services and Capture ATP)
    4. Microsoft Local Administrator Password Service
    5. Microsoft MAPS and Capture ATP
    6. DarkWeb ID by ID Agent
  6. Data Center
    1. CoreSite (Primary)
    2. zColo/Zayo (Secondary)
  7. Backup and Disaster Recovery
    1. Unitrends
    2. Backup Radar
    3. Datto BDR
  8. Email Security (Spam Filtering, Message Archiving, Encryption)
    1. Reflexion
  9. Documentation and Password Management
    1. IT Glue
  10. Two Factor/Multi Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA)
    1. Duo
  11. Mobile Device Management
    1. Citrix AirWatch
  12. Server/Workstation Hardware Providers
    1. Dell (Primary)
    2. HP
    3. Lenovo
    4. Apple
    5. Microsoft
  13. Network Hardware Providers
    1. Ubiquiti (Primary)
    2. Sonicwall (Primary)
    3. Dell / Force10 / Brocade (Secondary)
    4. HP (Secondary)
    5. Fortinet (Secondary)
  14. Software Providers
    1. Gsuite – Google
    2. Microsoft Office 365
    3. Etc.