Confronting Geopolitical Risk, Pt. 1: Responding to Complex Threats

The global rise of sophisticated bad actors requires new tools for defending organizational vulnerabilities and complying with sanctions.

Geopolitical conflicts and the interconnected global economy have introduced unforeseen risks and threats to both the public and private sectors. Enterprise leaders must evolve their risk management posture to keep defense initiatives and programs, critical infrastructure, and intellectual property out of danger.

As technology has levelled the playing field and new adversaries threaten multinational corporations and government agencies alike, organizations must reengineer risk management thinking and strategies. While this may seem like a daunting and complex challenge, enterprises can dramatically reduce risk by removing internal siloes, combining efforts between government and business, and leveraging technology to enable global, ecosystem wide solutions.

In the second part of this two-part series, we explore strategies and solutions that can elevate an enterprise’s security, without adding unnecessary complexity.


Opportunities to Preserve Security

The scope of today’s geopolitical risks may be overwhelming, but they are manageable with the right strategies, programming, and governance. Key opportunities to navigate Preserving Security include:

Cybersecurity Strategy and Architecture — An organization’s entry point to developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and architecture depends on where its cyber program currently sits on the maturity scale. Leaders working toward an advanced governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) structure to help manage cyber risk assessment and mitigation and critical assets management will enhance security at its foundations. Government agencies can benefit from commercially available GRC solutions. Supply chain security and cyber threat intelligence are also integral to effective cyber strategy and architecture and overarching enterprise-wide risk management.

Enterprise Identity and Access Management — Identity and access management (IAM) ensures the right people have the right access to the right resources. Reducing exposure now requires developing strategies and executing technical implementation for enterprise IAM, identity and access governance, access management and federation, authentication, and zero trust architectures. Adopting commercial strategies and assessments will enable organizations to establish implementation goals and a roadmap for technical management and delivery.

Fraud Risk Management — Leveraging technology and machine learning empowers good actors to stay ahead of bad ones. Leader-driven investments in identifying and preventing fraud can leverage tools including fraud risk assessments, fraud program assessments, fraud technologies assistance (including vendor selection, diagnostic services, and enhancements), fraud alert investigations or chargeback dispute resolution, and discrete investigations with root cause analysis, will all assist in decreasing fraud risk.

Enterprise Risk Management — A comprehensive risk management solution encompasses enterprise risk assessment, risk treatment and options analysis, operational implementation and improvement, emerging risk identification workshops, and integration of risk with strategy and risk assessments. Targeted risk programming, such as sanctions risk assessment, will round out these efforts.


The Megatrends Landscape

Organizations across the public and private sectors no longer operate in a siloed environment, and Preserving Security is not normally accomplished with a single-silo type of solution. Rather, ach megatrend has many elements and dynamics, and they, in turn, intersect with each other often in limitless practical and impactful ways:

Optimizing an Adaptable Workforce — Navigating recruitment and retention challenges and skills shortages to stay ahead of cybersecurity, fraud, and sanctions risks will increasingly be central to security at any organization and on a national level. Continued hybrid and remote teams, further, can present serious and ongoing network security challenges.

Accelerating Innovation and Tech — The transition to new enterprise technology can introduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities as new system configurations and reconfigurations are necessary, data migrates, and new users adapt to new procedures and security protocols. However, organizations that resist adopting new technology become even more vulnerable as aging systems become more susceptible to risks.

Maximizing Data — The proliferation of data presents substantial fraud opportunities and cybersecurity challenges.

Reimagining Resilient Communities — Growing global investment in infrastructure and community resilience provides lucrative targets for fraud and cybercrime as government agencies disburse funds. As well, the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on underprivileged communities generates additional security vulnerabilities via the unrest and chaos caused by inequality, poverty, and injustice.

None of these 21st-century challenges can be solved exclusively by government or industry. They can neither be regulated away nor be innovated out of. Instead, they require integrated, sector-spanning expertise. Enterprise leaders must seek out deep industry knowledge and practical experience to keep their organizations safe, mitigate risk, and achieve success.


While these intersecting megatrends present challenges for organizations, they also represent the global economy’s path to a better, more sustainable, efficient, and secure world. Navigating these trends not only helps public- and private-sector leaders overcome present-day obstacles, but also positions their organizations for success in the future economy.


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