What is Risk Mitigation? (2021 Guide)

If we mitigate our risks and have a detailed plan in place, we can have more control over the outcome of a situation.
October 25, 2021

We all know that in life, there are things you can control and things you cannot control. Everyone wants to feel as though they’re in control of their life, but that isn’t always the case. As things happen beyond our control all the time, our main goal should be to control what we can and let everything else go.

On the other hand, even though we can’t control some situations, we can always mitigate our risks. If we mitigate our risks and have a detailed plan in place, we can have more control over the outcome of a situation.

Is There Such a Thing as Personal Mitigation?

If you’re asking yourself, what is risk mitigation, the answer is simple. Mitigating risks means doing everything in your power -- everything that you have control over -- to greatly reduce the risks of something bad happening, such as an accident that can harm you or someone else. In case you’re wondering, mitigation tools can be used by an individual for personal reasons or a business to keep the workplace much safer.

If we were to define mitigate, we’d be talking about implementing processes that greatly reduce the odds that something bad is going to happen. If our mitigation plan for improving our health includes regular exercise, eating right, and drinking lots of water, there is a lower chance that we’re going to become unhealthy. Everything people do to reduce the possibility of a bad situation or the severity of it, is a good example of risk mitigation.

On-the-Job Risk Mitigation

Of course, when most people think about mitigation, they think about on-the-job mitigation, or adding processes and putting safeguards in place that will increase the odds of everyone at the company staying safe. Businesses have to take risk mitigation seriously because they are legally responsible for occupational health and safety of their employees and customers.

Workplace security is also there to protect not just people’s physical safety, but other types of safety and security as well. For instance, doing what you can to protect IT systems from experiencing a virus, mitigating the chance of crashes and loss of data, work and time.

Something like ransomware and viruses need to be specifically addressed, as they can affect the entire company and many stakeholders. Only by actively determining what your risks are and by putting specific measures in place to deter them, can you feel secure about your working environment.

Let’s take a look at this example. Data security is important regardless of what type of business you’re running. If your goal is to make all of the data on all of the servers and computers in your office as safe and secure as possible, you have to be proactive in doing something about it.

For instance, you could put these measures in place at the company:

  • Ongoing technical monitoring
  • Improving the rate of employees adopting certain security measures and behaviours
  • Matching all implementation of security levels to specific security requirementsAs is probably obvious by now, the first step in the mitigation process is identifying your potential risks then determining the measures that could help prevent those risks from happening in the first place. You have to take a proactive role when it comes to mitigating certain scenarios and decide what you can do to reduce your risks, as well as decide exactly how to do that.

If you implement safety measures and a breach occurs, it’ll be much easier to track it back to the point where the failure occurred. Then, you can fix the problem and maybe even put new measures in place so that it doesn’t happen again.

Can you do something if a security breach occurs and you wish to lessen the effect the breach has on your company? Yes. For instance, you could:

  • Adjust access rights
  • Build or improve firewalls
  • Enforce your policy for protective password complexity 

How Do You Get Started with a Risk Mitigation Plan?

Because the meaning of mitigate is to put plans into place to reduce the odds of something going wrong or its severity, it’s obvious that this is a process that requires a lot of thought and planning. If you were to survey different businesses of different sizes about their mitigation plans, you’d find that some have no plan at all, some have very extensive plans that are well thought out, and most of them are right in the middle.

Simply put, this means they have a few plans in place but might not have as many as they should. In addition, some of those same companies may not have any of their plans formally documented. There are several main reasons why having a complete and well-documented mitigation plan is so important.

Firstly, it helps you determine everything going on in all the different departments of your company, thus presenting you with first-hand knowledge of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Secondly, if something happened despite the measures you’ve taken, it is much easier to see which area of your plan is not working and where you need to improve.

Effective Risk Management Tools

Mitigation tools that help you protect the entire company need to be updated continuously in order to be effective. Especially in the digital age with software updates and technology ever evolving. Here are some of the most effective methods for mitigating your risks.

  • Shop for special mitigation software that can help with all sorts of risks, ensuring your risks are continuously monitored. This type of software can help you link all of the tools together so you can track how effective they are and identify other potential risks. There are lots of great mitigation software packages out there, but a company handling your risks is ideal.
  • Keep all of your operational procedures in a centrally accessible location for relevant internal stakeholders, with robust data security. Why? Because at the end of the day, every function of your company is tied into all of the other functions. When policies and procedures are kept in an accessible central location, they're easier to reference when problems arise. 
  • Connect the right dots across the company. You’ll want to connect your risks, sectioning specific mitigation activities to their respective departments, people, and resources. Draw these cross-departmental connections so that you can build workflows that help you notify the appropriate managers if any of these things change.
  • Look for any holes that might be in your risk mitigation program. This will be an ongoing effort, but it’s a crucial task. 

By mitigating our risks, it gives us a sense of control, and when you’re a manager of dozens or even thousands of employees, you can use that control to put measures in place that protect everyone. While executing mitigation tools is not a guarantee that your company will never experience any type of incident, it does greatly reduce the odds of occurrence and severity.

So, we’ve determined that the meaning of risk mitigation includes reducing the risks of something bad happening to yourself and/or others, and we’ve also mentioned ways to develop a good mitigation plan. But don’t think that once this plan is put into effect that you can forget all about it.

On the contrary, effective mitigation plans are continuously evolving and improving, not to mention changing because things are always going to change at your company. The important thing is to have a starting point that includes the plan itself, even if you already know that it’s going to be changing from now on. This is why having a company handle your risk mitigation makes sense, contact us today to learn more and get a quote.