30 December 2003

Virginia's Institute for Defense and Homeland Security -- November - December 2003 Newsletter

Virginia's Institute for Defense and Homeland Security -- November - December 2003 Newsletter:

Guest Column

Offense vs. Defense: The Risk Management Clock is Ticking

By Peter L. Higgins, 1SecureAudit

What side of the risk field do you play on in your organization? A mix of both offense and defense is a prudent way to hedge any potential losses. Unfortunately, many don't spend nearly enough time being proactive and managing future risk.

Proactive and preventive risk management requires a layered and active intelligence program. It assumes that dedicated resources and personnel are spending a majority of their time scanning the horizon for new threats. It means devoting more time to asking, 'What if'? This kind of investment will produce the new thinking and strategy that can prevent a potential new loss.

At a recent conference, Ms. Frances Fragos-Townsend, Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism in the National Security Council, addressed this exact topic of proactive risk management. She urged businesses to get out of consequence-management mode and into the risk-management mode. She was right on target. Businesses don't spend enough time thinking ahead and looking toward the horizon. We need to be actively thinking about where the next risk of loss will come from and prepare for it.

How many play minutes did your board of directors spend in the last meeting on dealing with consequences (defense) as opposed to managing the risks of the future (offense). For a look at what risks your company and our planet will face in the next two decades, take a look at the Seven Revolutions Initiative, which attempts to describe what the world will look like in 2025. This goal of this project is to promote strategic, forward-looking thinking among current and future leaders about how the world will change over the next 25 years and what that change will mean for international leadership. One visit to the Seven Revolutions website will convince you that we all have a tremendous amount of planning to do if we are going to be able to respond to the risk and change ahead of us."

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