The most dangerous threats a business faces are the ones it doesn’t see coming. You can prepare for the threats you know about, but the ones that sneak up on you are nearly impossible to plan for.

Are you aware of the biggest threats your company potentially faces in 2017 and beyond? They may include the following:

  1. Insider Theft

“Whether malicious or just clumsy, insiders will always pose a risk. Although a malicious insider can be particularly damaging, the most common insiders threats in cyber security are from accidents,” explains Virtru, a leader in the encryption software space.

“Mistakes like accidentally sharing confidential data outside the organization or using insecure communication for sensitive conversations can easily compromise customer privacy or company secrets.”

You can usually prevent malicious insiders from getting into and spreading data by conducting a more thorough vetting process when you hire new talent, limiting access, and creating strict reporting practices.

Accidental insider theft is a little harder to tackle. The best thing you can do is properly train and educate your employees. The better you prepare them, the less likely they’ll commit mistakes.

  1. Increasing Regulations

In many industries, increasing regulation poses a significant threat to productivity. Take manufacturing as an example.

IndustryWeek points out that if federal agencies continue their current pace of regulatory activity, the burden could reduce manufacturing output by as much as 6 percent by the end of this decade. That’s a potential $500 billion impact.

Some regulations are useful. Others are not so good. If your industry is burdened by an unnecessary amount of regulations, you need a strategy to handle them. You can’t make them go away, but you can make sure you’re prepared.

  1. Business Interruptions
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Did you know that more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen their doors after a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane? Not only is the cost of repairing the damage too high for them to absorb, but the loss of profits and customers during the downtime usually leaves the affected companies with little revenue stream.

You can’t avoid these interruptions when they happen, but you can be prepared for them. Purchasing flood insurance on your real estate is a good start. In addition, you should create a business continuity plan that maximizes uptime and empowers you to keep moving forward.

  1. Data Fragmentation

More and more data is being collected on a daily basis than ever. It can be leveraged in multiple ways, but you have to have a plan to organize and store it. Otherwise you’ll end up with a big mess on your hands.

Data fragmentation, or the inefficient storage of critical information, weighs down a lot of businesses today. Make sure you put at least as much emphasis on organizing the data you gather as you do on collecting it. That’s the only way to benefit from it.

  1. Increased Competition

“It’s never been easier to start a business. Gone are the days when it took weeks, months, and a myriad of forms to get your business started,” business consultant Neal Jenson says. “Now if you can buy a domain name and register your business online, you’re in business.”

Although lower barriers to entry are great for entrepreneurs who are just starting out, they also entail greater competition for established firms. You need to ensure you’re constantly growing and improving, otherwise the competition may overtake you.

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Prepare for Anything and Everything 

The better prepared you are, the less chance you’ll have of one of the above threats sneaking up on you this year or the next. Though you can’t defend against every possible outcome, you can reduce your levels of risk in key areas and give your business a better chance of staying profitable and successful.

Are you prepared, or do you still have work to do?

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