Digital Risk: What It Is And How to Manage It in Your Org

Jan 7, 2020

Is your organization becoming increasingly dependent on technology? If so, your organization is also becoming vulnerable to certain digital threats and risks. As a result, you need to create digital risk strategies to best manage these challenges.

Today, management is aggressively adopting new technologies to drive growth. However, with technological advancement, an organization needs to identify and address risks.

Digital risk management is an essential part of business management. It’s focused on the threats and risks for enterprise information and the underlying IT systems processing them as they are implementing the full set of business processes.

In this post, I’ll explain what digital risk is, the types of digital risks, and how to manage them in your organization.

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What Is Digital Risk?

Today, organizations around the world are looking to embrace the latest technologies so that they can remain competitive in the global economy. Consequentially, these organizations are exposing themselves to more digital risk.

We can simply define “digital risk” as the consequences of adopting new technologies. These consequences are new and unexpected. Managing digital risk means that you understand the implications of adopting certain technologies—in other words, adopting technologies in a way that lowers digital risk within your organizations.

Whether you’re trying to address cyberthreats or third-party tools, in all cases, digital risk is becoming a crucial part of business risk management.

Types of Digital Risk

We can classify digital risks as cybersecurity risk, workforce risk, compliance risk, third-party risk, automation risk, resiliency risk, and data privacy risk. Moreover, these risks are not found in one single industry. For example, they can be seen from healthcare to financial services.

Organizations are in search of answers for how to best address digital risk. Let’s take a look at each one.

Types of Digital Risk

Cybersecurity Risk

Here, we refer to the risk of cyberattacks. These types of attacks often have the objective of accessing sensitive information and then using that information for malicious acts—for example, extortion and preventing normal business processes from flowing.

Workforce Risk

A workforce risk is any workforce issue that could pose risk to an organization’s goals. In other words, workforce risks are things like skill shortages and high employee turnover.

Compliance Risk

This risk refers to any new requirements or rules needed for a new technology. When you adopt a new technology, your organization is at risk of not complying with regulatory requirements for business operations, data retention, and other business practices

Third-Party Risk

These are risks associated with outsourcing to third-party vendors or service providers. For example, vulnerabilities related to intellectual property, data, operations, finances, customer information, or other sensitive information are third-party risks.

Automation Risk

Along with automation, there will be a risk of issues such as compatibility problems with other technology, lack of resources, and governance issues, among others.

Resiliency Risk

This type of risk refers to the risk of negative events occurring when adopting a new technology and the difficulty of minimizing the damage caused.

Data Privacy Risk

This refers to the risk of being able to protect sensitive data. This data usually includes full names, email addresses, passwords, physical addresses, and even dates of birth. This data can be easily misused by hackers as a way of harming or misusing your identity.

How to Manage Your Digital Risk

So, how can you ensure that your organization best manages its digital risk?

1. Identify Key Assets and Do an Internal Audit

Your organization should come up with strategies to best foresee risks and mitigate them. For example, you might implement the governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) strategy. GRC can be defined as an organization’s approach across these three practices of governance, risk management, and compliance.

For you to correctly manage digital risk, you first need to identify the critical assets in your organization and think about all the ways they may be exposed or vulnerable to threats. Examples of critical assets are as follows:

  • Stakeholders and those people who influence your organization’s goals, such as customers and employees.

  • IT systems such as websites, databases, payment processing systems, and ERP applications.

That is to say, through the identification of these key assets, you’ll be able to identify their vulnerabilities and the nature of potential attacks. Thereafter, ensure that these assets abide by your GRC.

GRC Solutions and Services

GRC solutions and services allow organizations to implement, manage, monitor, and measure the effectiveness of their governance, risk, and compliance strategies. These GRC strategies involve clearly defined measurables that allow organizations to see how effective they are in the areas of governance, risk, and compliance. There are many GRC software vendors offering an array of GRC software solutions.

2. Understand the Potential Threats to Your Organization

To manage your digital risk, you first need to understand the threats that your organization is facing.

How a Threat Behaves

There are frameworks available (such as MITRE ATT&CK) that can help your organization understand how to set up defenses against real-world threats. Learning about how a threat behaves can help organizations better prepare for them.

Furthermore, threats prioritize their attacks based on the shortest path or least effort needed. For example, hackers will try to use exposed login credentials to overtake accounts through impersonating the brand.

3. Monitor for Unwanted Exposure

To detect exposed assets, organizations should consider sources for any unwanted online exposure, such as the following:

  • Git repositories

  • Misconfigured online file-sharing services

  • Paste sites

  • Social media

  • File-sharing sites

  • Criminal forums

  • Dark web pages

 4. Take Action and Protect Against Digital Risks

Identifying online exposure is important, but you also need to make sure that your organization has a mitigation strategy. I suggest three approaches to mitigation—tactical, operational, and strategic.

Tactical Mitigations

  1. Reduce your attack surface: I advise that you look at your organization as if you were the attacker. Identify those systems that are vulnerable and remove them so that there is less to attack.

  2. Set up networking blocking actions: Create policies that block the domain and IP using firewalls, existing proxy, or perimeter controls.

Operational Mitigations

Moreover, you should continually monitor digital risk by using operational mitigations.

  1. Implement a monitoring strategy: Begin with domain monitoring and add further monitoring over time. This will build confidence in the digital risk management strategy.

  2. Use incident risk monitoring: Identify risks to monitor for and create an incident ticket whenever a risk is identified. Investigate the risk and thus further understand your digital risk.

Strategic Mitigations

  1. Update risk and threat models: Ensure that security teams update threat models by taking into account critical digital assets, including those associated with third parties and supply chains.

  2. Measure, manage, and report digital risk: It’s suggested that you integrate digital risk management into general incident management processes.


Managing your digital risk takes time, and it’s no easy task. Teams should first understand what digital risk is and the types of digital risks. Then they can implement strategies to manage them.

Now that you know more about digital risk, I hope that you’ll feel more confident on the road ahead.

I would like to suggest you visit Plutora’s platform page to get solutions for the issues you’re facing in digital risk and to learn how to implement their tools/technologies for solving these issues, making it easier for your clients.

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