Managing Risk: Examples of External Threats.


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I have seen my fair share of external threats that can potentially harm businesses of all sizes. From hacking attempts to phishing scams, these threats can come in various forms and can cause significant damage if left unchecked. That’s why I am here to offer some examples of external threats that businesses should be aware of and how they can manage the associated risks.

One of the most common external threats that businesses face is cyber attacks. These attacks can be in the form of malware, ransomware, or even denial-of-service attacks that can cause significant damage to a company’s systems and data. The emotional and psychological impact of these attacks can be overwhelming for business owners and managers, and that’s why it’s important to have a comprehensive cyber security strategy in place.

Another external threat that businesses face is social engineering. This technique involves using psychological manipulation to trick employees into divulging sensitive information or perform unauthorized actions that can compromise business systems. Social engineering can take many forms, including phishing scams, pretexting, or baiting, to name a few.

Despite the prevalence of external threats, managing risk doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By understanding the potential threats, implementing the appropriate security measures, and regularly reviewing and updating those measures, businesses can minimize their risk and protect their operations from harm.

In the following paragraphs, I will delve deeper into these external threats, provide you with additional examples, and give you the tools you need to mitigate the risks associated with them.

What are examples of external risk types?

External risks can come in various forms, and it’s crucial for businesses to identify and manage them effectively. Some of the most common external risk types include:

  • Supply Chain interruptions: One of the biggest risks that businesses face is the interruption of their supply chain. This can be caused by various factors, such as natural disasters, political unrest, and even cyber attacks.
  • Natural Disasters: Businesses in certain parts of the world are susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. These events can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, which can interrupt business operations.
  • Cyber Attacks: In recent years, cyber attacks have become a significant cause of concern for businesses of all sizes. External hackers can gain access to confidential data, disrupt business operations, and cause major financial losses.
  • Changes in Regulations: External factors such as changes in regulations and laws can significantly impact a business. For example, new data privacy regulations will require businesses to adapt their processes and procedures to comply with these regulations.
  • Geopolitical Developments: Global events such as trade conflicts and changes in government policies can have a significant impact on businesses. These external risks can lead to changes in market conditions, supply chain disruption, and other negative effects.
  • Viral Social Media Incidents: The rise of social media has made it easier for businesses to reach their target audience. However, it has also made it easier for negative news or incidents to go viral. When this happens, businesses can suffer serious reputational damage and financial losses.
  • In conclusion, external risk types are numerous and can have significant impacts on businesses. Companies must identify potential risks, develop plans to mitigate those risks, and monitor external factors continuously. Doing so will help ensure business continuity and protect against external threats.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Stay informed about the latest industry trends and news to identify and analyze potential external risks. Regularly monitor government regulations, economic shifts, and geopolitical events that could affect your business operations.

    2. Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential external risks such as natural disasters, cyber attacks, supply chain disruptions, and vendor management issues. This will help you to prioritize your mitigation efforts and allocate resources efficiently.

    3. Establish effective partnerships and collaborations with your suppliers, vendors, and third-party service providers. This will help you to streamline your supply chain and reduce the risk of external disruptions.

    4. Train your staff on how to identify and report external risks. Encourage a culture of open communication and transparency to help your employees feel comfortable raising any concerns they may have.

    5. Create a comprehensive risk management plan that includes a range of strategies to address external risks. This could include contingency planning, crisis management, business continuity, and disaster recovery planning. Regularly review and update your plan to ensure it remains effective in the face of evolving external risks.

    it is important to recognize that there are various types of external risks that businesses must address and prepare for. Among these risks are supply chain interruptions, natural disasters, cyber attacks, changes in regulation, geopolitical developments, and viral social media incidents. Understanding these risks and being prepared to mitigate them can help businesses to avoid significant damage to their operations and reputation.

    Supply Chain Interruptions

    Supply chain interruptions occur when a company’s procurement of goods and services is disrupted due to an issue in their supplier’s manufacturing or delivery process. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as insufficient inventory, lack of logistics capabilities, or a transportation issue. While supply chain interruptions can be unpredictable, they can have a significant impact on a company’s operations and ultimately, their financial performance. It is important for businesses to have a contingency plan in place to address this type of risk.

    Examples of supply chain interruptions:

    • A natural disaster that affects a supplier’s manufacturing facilities
    • Political instability in a region where a supplier operates
    • A breach in a supplier’s cyber security system that disrupts communication and delivery of goods and services

    Natural Disasters

    Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, can have a significant impact on businesses. Not only can they damage a company’s facilities, but they can also disrupt their supply chain and lead to a loss of revenue. It is essential for companies to have a disaster recovery plan that includes steps for responding to natural disasters. This plan should include emergency protocols for the safety of employees, strategies for communication with stakeholders, and backup plans for data and operations.

    Examples of natural disasters:

    • Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which caused widespread flooding and significant damage to businesses in Texas
    • The 2018 earthquake in Indonesia, which disrupted production for many electronics and automotive companies
    • The 2019 Australian bushfires, which forced many businesses to temporarily close their operations

    Cyber Attacks

    Cyber attacks are one of the most significant external risks that businesses face. They can occur at any time and result in a breach of sensitive data, operational disruption, and reputational damage. It is essential for businesses to take proactive measures to protect themselves against cyber attacks, including implementing strong security protocols, training employees to identify and prevent threats, and engaging in ongoing risk assessments. In the event of a cyber attack, companies must have a response plan in place to minimize damage and ensure a swift recovery.

    Examples of cyber attacks:

    • The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected companies worldwide, including FedEx and Renault
    • The 2018 Marriott data breach that resulted in the theft of sensitive customer information
    • The 2020 Twitter hack, which compromised high-profile accounts and resulted in a loss of trust for the social media platform

    Regulatory Changes

    Changes in regulation can have a significant impact on businesses, particularly those in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and energy. Failure to comply with new regulations can result in fines, legal action, and reputational damage. It is essential for businesses to stay up-to-date on regulatory changes and ensure that their operations comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

    Examples of regulatory changes:

    • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was implemented in the European Union in 2018
    • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis
    • The Clean Air Act that regulates air pollution in the United States

    Geopolitical Developments

    Geopolitical developments, such as changes in trade policy, political unrest, and international tensions, can have a significant impact on businesses. These risks can be unpredictable and difficult to mitigate, but it is essential for businesses to monitor geopolitical developments and assess their potential impact on their operations.

    Examples of geopolitical developments:

    • The ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, which have disrupted global supply chains
    • The political instability in Venezuela, which has led to a decline in oil production and disruption to supply chains
    • The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, which has created uncertainty for businesses operating in both regions

    Viral Social Media Incidents

    Viral social media incidents can quickly spread and have significant consequences for businesses. These incidents can originate from a variety of sources, including employees, customers, and social media influencers. It is essential for businesses to have a plan for responding to viral social media incidents that includes measures for monitoring and addressing negative comments, engaging with stakeholders, and protecting the brand’s reputation.

    Examples of viral social media incidents:

    • The backlash against Pepsi’s “Live for Now” ad campaign in 2017, which was accused of trivializing social justice movements
    • The controversy surrounding Starbucks’ policies on customer behavior, which led to protests and calls for a boycott of the coffee chain
    • The United Airlines incident in 2017, where a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight, leading to a viral video and widespread outrage

    In conclusion, external risks can have a significant impact on businesses and their operations. It is important for businesses to understand and be prepared for these risks, including supply chain interruptions, natural disasters, cyber attacks, changes in regulation, geopolitical developments, and viral social media incidents. Mitigating these risks requires proactive measures, including risk assessments, contingency planning, and ongoing monitoring and response efforts. staying up-to-date on these external risks and engaging in proactive risk management can help businesses to minimize the impact of external risks and ensure their continued success.