The variety and volume of risks and threats facing businesses in 2019 is greater than it has ever been. It can feel like there is risk at every turn for some organisations, which explains why we have seen the emergence and rise of the Chief Risk Officer and also why businesses have started to invest so heavily in enterprise risk management software.

A recent report by Transparency Market Research, predicted that the global enterprise risk management market will reach US$ 5.8 bn through 2027, a significant increase from the US$ 3.9 bn it is in 2019. It really is no surprise to see such market growth, given the complexity and severity of the threats facing businesses – organisations need the best risk management tools to protect themselves and to get the best balance between risk and reward.

One of the great skills or attributes for anyone in business to have, is a sense of how best to balance risk vs reward. Few organisations thrive by playing it safe and there is more pressure now than ever to be disruptive, innovative and game-changing.
But to be disruptive requires taking risks and while the rewards are great if this works out, it can also be very damaging to a business if the risk does not pay off. Some business people have an instinctive and intuitive understanding of risk, seemingly always knowing at what price they should sell, or which company they should partner with.

With more and more organisations turning to GRC solutions or GRC tools to ensure the business stays compliant, is well-governed and manages risk effectively it is clear that the GRC industry is established and here to stay.
There are many GRC software vendors offering an array of GRC software solutions, enough to meet a variety of different requirements in different industries. But working out exactly which GRC software vendor to work with is a challenge and poses many questions for the organisation that is looking.

Company culture is regularly cited as one of the most important factors when candidates look for a new role, and it’s of equal importance when it comes to retaining talent. Part of this company culture involves elements such as work / life balance and how that impacts the individual, but it also includes areas such as compliance.

The last decade has seen a real explosion in the use of GRC solutions and IT GRC tools to help organisations manage their Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) programmes. There are a wide array of GRC software vendors to cater for a variety of requirements and the market overall is one that is experiencing a lot of growth.
There is now a much deeper understanding of what GRC is about and how IT GRC software can help realise the benefits of a GRC programme. GRC tools are used just as much by mid-market firms as they are much larger business, but all organisations use their GRC solutions in a different way.

GRC solutions and compliance software comes in many different guises. Some GRC tools are better suited to mid-sized firms for example, while others may be better deployed by specific vertical markets, such as Financial Services. Overall the use of compliance software has become much more widespread over the last decade, as organisations look to stay on top of the ever growing and increasingly complex regulatory compliance requirements.

compliance with government rules

The Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) market has made huge advances over the past decade or so. The three disparate elements of GRC have come together to make those functions more efficient and effective, and a major new market has emerged, supplying GRC tools and GRC solutions to organisations keen to reap the benefits of this more joined-up approach.
IT GRC software has been used particularly in the Financial Services (FS) sector. Increased compliance requirements, a post-financial crisis of 2008need to demonstrate that FS firms are well-governed, and a whole host of new business risk has created a perfect storm in FS for GRC software vendors.

Organisations must adopt a continuous approach to cyber security

Cyber security is a critical business issue. The volume, sophistication and severity of attacks over the past few years have highlighted just how tough a challenge it can be to defend an organisation against cyber attack.

The situation hasn’t always been helped by CEOs and other board members. In public they speak confidently about the need to keep their customers’ data secure, yet they do not always back up their words with the requisite action.

Budget and resource for cybersecurity has for many organisations not been what it could be, with CEOs not always acknowledging that cyber security in 2019 is a much trickier proposition than it was a few years previously. It requires professionalism and specialist expertise to combat the threat posed by cyber criminals and they are qualities that internal IT security teams do not always have.

The situation does look as though it is changing, however. New research has recently emerged that shows CEOs are now more willing than ever to invest in the right skills and tools for cyber security. What is the best approach for organisations keen to manage cyber security better in 2019?

A renewed focus on cyber security?

Earlier in 2019, the 2019 Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities research was released, a survey of 1,578 IT decision-makers in EMEA that focused on where they would be spending their IT budget over the following 12 months.

The findings make for encouraging reading for anyone involved in cyber security. Cyber security and risk management (32%) were named as second only to IT automation (33%), when respondents were asked for their main spending priority.

This renewed focus on cyber security was further highlighted in the survey. 39% of EMEA respondents said that their budget is expected to increase in this area, a sign that perhaps CEOs are finally starting to take cyber security with the seriousness that it needs.

Spending on compliance for GDPR has dropped, according to the research findings, but the additional focus GDPR has brought on data protection in Europe has surely played a role in the increased spending on cyber security. Organisations are increasingly viewing data breaches as a business risk, which is an important development in keeping cyber security tight and effective.

But organisations are still at risk

It would be complacent however, to think that European organisations have now got full control of their cyber security. Another recent study by security company Tripwire revealed that 34% of IT professionals in Europe admitted that their organisation had been breached as a result of an unpatched vulnerability.

Many vendors publish new fixes every month, and this volume of patches, can mean that there is a delay in securing critical systems, leaving a window of vulnerability. Just under half of respondents in the survey aim to deploy a security patch within a week, while more than 90% said they would do so within a month.

Such delays are potentially critical, and highlight the need for a more on-going and continuous approach to cyber security, in order to give under pressure IT teams the support they require.

Addressing cybersecurity with confidence

Getting the board behind cyber security efforts is a vital component of addressing IT risk effectively. The research showing how European IT decision-makers are increasing their spend on cyber security is a good indicator that this is starting to happen.

But boards also need to think of cyber security as a business risk – it really is that important. A city in Florida has just agreed to a $600,000 ransom pay out to hackers that took over its systems three weeks ago. Riviera Beach City Council voted to give into the cybercriminals’ demands and had in fact already voted to spend almost $1 million on new computers and hardware following the incident.

Looking at IT security through a business lens may well have helped address an issue like this before it even took place. But having the right tools in place to manage IT risk is arguably the most important element of cyber security. The real-time monitoring of threats, ensuring cyber security is a continuous and on-going process, is a technology solution that Oxial specialises in.

We work with a range of experienced and first-in-class third-parties and consultants, to complement our native technology and it has proven to be a highly effective proposition for maintaining cyber security on an on-going basis. We provide users with an integrate and real-time view of IT risks, assessing their impact and giving good notice so measures can be taken in time to address them.

IT risk is best managed as part of an overall GRC focus and this is most effective when addressed in a continuous way.

For more details about Oxial’s solution and how it can help with cyber security, please click here.

The second iteration of the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) came into being on 3 January 2018, and it is fair to say that opinion has been divided, on both the motives behind its launch and also its success so far.
The initial objective of MiFID II was to strengthen investor protection and improve the functioning of financial markets by making them more efficient, resilient and transparent. This transparency into buyside and sellside trading activities across all the major asset classes in the capital markets industry was a major factor, but MiFID II hasn’t been universally welcomed.

For decades now, business has been very international. Companies – especially the bigger and mid-sized organisations – regularly trade in countries all over the world and many have of those companies will have a presence in a good number of those countries.