Risk Mitigation

Risk Mitigation

Risk Mitigation Jonathan Poland

Risk mitigation is the process of identifying, analyzing, and taking steps to reduce or eliminate risks to an individual or organization. It is an important part of risk management, as it helps to minimize the impact of potential risks and maximize the chances of success. There are several strategies that can be used to mitigate risk, including implementing controls, conducting risk assessments, developing contingency plans, and insuring against potential losses. It is important to consider the potential costs and benefits of each risk mitigation strategy in order to determine the most effective and efficient approach.

One important aspect of risk mitigation is communication. It is crucial to keep stakeholders informed about potential risks and the steps being taken to address them. This can help to build trust and confidence in an individual or organization, and can also help to identify additional risk mitigation opportunities. In addition to these strategies, it is important to regularly review and update risk mitigation plans in order to ensure that they remain effective over time. This may involve reassessing the likelihood and impact of potential risks, as well as the effectiveness of the risk mitigation measures in place.

Overall, risk mitigation is an important part of successful risk management, and can help to ensure the long-term success and stability of an individual or organization. The following are general types of mitigation technique, each with an example.

Audits
Regular audits may identify problems such as accounting errors or security vulnerabilities before they become larger problems. Audits can be used both as a process of risk identification and mitigation. For example, accounting audits are a way to reduce the risk of financial fraud.

Backups
Backing up business information in multiple secure physical locations.

Business As Usual
Continuing with normal operations in the face of extraordinary events.

Communication
Communicating a risk may serve to reduce it. For example, if a bank has identified a particular type of fraud as a risk, communicating it to front line managers may help to prevent it.

Contingency Plans
Planning for critical situations such as natural disasters or security incidents can reduce the impact of such events should they occur.

Diversification
The process of allocating your capital and resources in diverse areas to reduce risk and volatility. For example, a company that sells 100 products in 12 different categories will typically have more stable revenue than a company with a single product.

Due Diligence
Due diligence is the process of investigation before committing to something such as a contract or strategy. Basic due diligence such as checking the financial, environmental, corporate social responsibility and management practices of a potential partner is a basic step in risk reduction that is often considered a legal obligation.

Equipment
Equipment designed to mitigate risks such as safety gear for construction.

Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the design of products to suit human cognitive and physical characteristics. It is considered a tool of risk mitigation such as preventing the risk of repetitive strain injuries with well designed furniture and equipment.

Error Handling
Designing systems so that errors are handled in such a way that processes, automation and user interfaces remain functional. Historically, systems were often designed to immediately halt upon finding any type of error. This is an unacceptable business risk in many scenarios. Well designed modern systems are designed to work around errors as far as possible.

Error Tolerant Design
User interfaces that prevent human error from having serious consequences. For example, a car may be designed not to let you put it into reverse when you’re moving forward.

Facilities
In some cases entire facilities are built to mitigate risks. For example, a data center may be built to reduce security related risks.

Graceful Degradation
Machines and systems that are designed to keep working with limited functionality when they are damaged or lose resources such as an internet connection. Important to the safety of equipment such as aircraft.

Infrastructure
Infrastructure such as computing, network and communication equipment may be used to reduce business risks. For example, equipment that is designed to handle security threats such as denial of service attacks.

Maintenance
Maintenance such as applying patches to software.

Measure And Reduce
The first step in risk mitigation is typically to find a way to measure a risk. Once a framework for measuring risks is in place, business strategies and day to day operations can work to reduce risk. For example, measurements of financial risk such as value at risk can be used to make investment choices that reduce risk.

Mistake Proofing
Designing systems, equipment, processes and procedures to reduce risks associated with human error. For example, aircraft maintenance tools may be kept in special cases that make it obvious if a tool is missing. Each maintenance typically involves a check to see that all tools are accounted for to prevent a forgotten tool from damaging an engine on takeoff.

Performance Management
Setting risk reduction goals as part of performance management.

Policies
Policies designed to reduce risk such as safety procedures at a construction site.

Process Control
Controls built into processes such as approvals designed to reduce financial risks.

Process Improvement
Process improvements such as automating steps to reduce errors.

Redundancy
Redundancy is the practice of eliminating single points of failure by having two or more of each critical resource. For example, a company with 2,000 employees who all work out of a single location might consider having at least two geographically distributed offices to mitigate risks such as an infrastructure failure or a disaster that strikes a location.

Scalability And Capacity
Building enough capacity and ensuring that you can scale to meet business volumes. For example, hiring enough customer service representatives so that you have ample capacity when an unexpected number of staff call in sick.

Standards
Establishing standards to guide business practices, decision making and design. For example, a technical security standard can reduce security risks if applied to all technology projects.

Subject Matter Expert
A subject matter expert is an authority in a particular business, technical or scientific domain. Review of decisions, designs and implementations by experts can reduce risks. For example, having a workplace safety expert review your work processes to implement improvements may reduce health and safety risks.

Supplies
Storing supplies to reduce the impact of a risk. For example, extra parts for a critical machine may reduce operational risks if such parts take a long time to procure from a supplier.

Testing
Testing such as product or system testing is a core risk mitigation technique. For example, properly testing the quality of a system will reduce the risk that it will fail at launch.

Training
Training such as compliance training for employees designed to reduce compliance and reputational risks.

Validation
Validation of information before it is accepted by systems and processes. For example, validating user input in an expense management tool may reduce the risk of accounting errors.

Verification
Verifying information with authoritative information sources. For example, verifying the information on a mortgage application may reduce credit risk.

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