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Knowledge Management For Risk Reduction

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Knowledge Management For Risk Reduction

Jul 13, 2022   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Amanda Winstead

People say that knowledge is power, but that adage is far more than an easy axiom. It’s also a bedrock truth. Perhaps no one knows that better than business leaders and decision-makers, those who deal every day with the management of knowledge.

The simple reality is that knowledge is the grist that keeps the wheels of your business turning. Lack of knowledge can lead to devastating errors, misjudgments, and mismanagement. Conversely, the theft of sensitive information can destroy your company’s reputation and threaten its very survival.

What this means, ultimately, is that knowledge management is about far more than developing sound operating practices, promoting efficiency and productivity, or galvanizing growth and profitability. Rather, the effective control of information is also an aspect of risk reduction. Indeed, risk mitigation may well be the most important, if frequently overlooked, attribute of knowledge management.

Connecting Knowledge Management and Risk Mitigation

Ours truly is the age of information. The success of any modern enterprise, regardless of the industry, directly and inextricably links to the production and flow of knowledge. Thus, the principal form of currency in modern business isn’t money — it’s information.

Just as you would safeguard your financial assets as a function of your risk management processes, so too must you safeguard the creation and circulation of knowledge within your organization if you intend to effectively mitigate the risks to which your organization is exposed.

The Rise of 5G, the IoT, and Smart Tech

Now more than ever, much of the work people do is performed remotely, via smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices linked to the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies give workers unprecedented power to create, access, and disseminate knowledge whenever they need it and wherever they may be.

This on-demand access to information not only helps to support efficient workflow, but it reduces the risk of work stoppages, delays, or operational errors. For example, IoT devices can be used by farmers to monitor growing conditions in real-time, shippers to track shipments worldwide, and warehouse and inventory managers to continuously assess and regulate product and supply stocks, transport, and storage. Ultimately, this reduces operational risks relating to common threats such as lower-than-expected crop yields, shipment delays, and inventory mismanagement.

Best of all, the extraordinary speed of information flow promises only to increase as technology advances and the 5G network expands worldwide. Indeed, the proliferation of 5G is expected to bridge the digital divide, connecting once inaccessible spaces to the world wide web while offering unprecedented speed and security.

This means that not only will knowledge flow faster, more freely, and more securely around the world, but also that business leaders worldwide will have more power than ever before to reduce their strategic, financial, regulatory, and operational risks. And such risk avoidance not only benefits the organization, but also employees, consumers, and local, national, and global economies in general.

Curtailing Information Flow

As critical as the dissemination of knowledge may be to productivity, efficiency, and strategy, there are, of course, a myriad of reasons why information access is a threat. Some data simply are not appropriate for public consumption, and the failure to protect such sensitive information can have profound consequences for your company.

Healthcare organizations that fail to secure patients’ medical information, for instance, may face costly lawsuits and severe damage to their reputation. Under extreme conditions, they may even be subject to compulsory shutdown by regulators.

For this reason, it is imperative that business leaders prioritize not only the production of knowledge but also the protection of it. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy proposition. For example, you likely already have a clear and rigorous policy for shredding documents containing sensitive information, such as financial or medical records.

However, information leaks can come from even the most seemingly innocuous sources. For instance, bad actors may be able to use something as simple as a birthday card to begin gathering the personally identifiable information (names, birth dates, relatives’ names, etc.) they need to hack company accounts.

This is why, when it comes to knowledge management, it’s probably not possible to be too proactive. In other words, sweat the small stuff. Install virtual private networks (VPN), firewalls, and other advanced security technologies and ensure they’re always updated. Engage in rigorous and ongoing information security training for all employees and partners and provide timely security alerts. Institute policies for destroying all potentially harmful information, no matter how seemingly innocuous.

This should also include, for example, securing all devices potentially containing work product, and ensuring that devices no longer in use are destroyed rather than simply wiped or scrubbed. Even common office equipment such as printers and scanners can retain sensitive information and, thus, should also be professionally destroyed.

The Takeaway

Knowledge management is about far more than using information to optimize operations and drive profitability. Knowledge management is also likely your best weapon against risk. With the appropriate technology, sound information production and dissemination practices, and rigorous data security, you can safeguard your company against the myriad risks that threaten it.

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Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including business and technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

 

 

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