VIEW: Out of the lab and into life

Emerging technologies such as drones, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and blockchain are starting to move out of the laboratory and into real life applications as our ability to transmit and crunch vast amounts of data expands. New technology offers so many opportunities for organisations to fulfil their objectives by improving processes, reducing costs, enhancing services and developing innovative new solutions. The potential benefits for firms, individuals and economies are huge. But all of this comes with risk.

As well as the relatively familiar ‘cyber’ risks of hacking, data and privacy breaches, extortion and internet related fraud, there are the more strategic risks faced by organisations where digital technology is disrupting markets. There are also ethical questions – just because you can do something, does that mean you should? And if you do, how can you do it safely (and what does that even mean)?

Not surprisingly, concerns about cyber security and digital risk are top of the agenda for organisations around the world. IRM’s recent research with the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies into risk management perspectives of major global corporates cited cyber risk as a key area for concern, as did the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report.

Risk professional cannot afford to be left behind in this field and should be on top of all these developments. If they act fast then they could actually have an opportunity to lead and add value in helping their organisations manage these risks. There has been a tendency to treat cyber issues as a technical matter for the IT team to deal with. This cannot continue when it’s clear that the real risks to organisations from digital technology are more about behaviour and culture and business management than about getting the latest piece of network hardware (although that may be needed too).

The IRM has recently relaunched its Cyber SIG and it has various events planned throughout the year – our website has further information on this as well as our other sector and regional specific groups.

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