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Monthly Archives: February 2016

The World Economic Forum Details the Greatest Risks the World Will Face This Year

World map sateliteThe potential impact of climate change is expected to be the greatest risk the world will face in 2016. This was indicated in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, which collects input from nearly 750 experts on global risks related to economics, the environment, technology and more.

The report notes that climate change impacts a number of concerns, citing food security, fresh water management and ocean acidification as some examples. This is the first time in the history of the report that an environmental issue has topped list of risks.

After climate change, the top four major risks in terms of impact are as follows:

  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Water crisis
  • Large-scale involuntary migration
  • Energy price shock

The list of risks is incredibly broad, with 4 out of 5 risk categories—environmental, geopolitical, societal and economic—holding a place among the most impactful challenges of 2016.

It’s interesting to note that, while climate change tops the list of global risks, it ranks only at number five on the list of Canadian risks for 2016. Above climate change, the greatest four risks for Canada are as follows:

  1. Energy price shock
  2. Asset bubble
  3. Cyber attacks
  4. Failure of critical infrastructure

The World Economic Forum says that identifying global risks is a critical step to help mitigate potential harm. They also warn that a number of the risks that were identified in the report require serious collaboration from both the private and public sectors in order to appropriately address some of the major concerns.

For more information on specific risks and to review the report in its entirety, click here.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Legal Risks Facing Businesses

Top 10 legal risksBorden Ladner Gervais LLP, one of Canada’s preeminent law firms, recently published a report on the top 10 legal risks businesses may face in 2016. Learning what these risks are can help companies identify key trends and regulatory changes that could have serious legal implications for their business. Five of the major risks identified include the following:

  1. Climate Change: In order to combat climate change, there will likely be significant changes to Canada’s energy systems, with a heavier focus on green energy sources expected. As such, businesses will need to be aware of potential green initiatives in order to navigate complicated policies.
  2. Increased Tax Scrutiny: As the demand for greater tax transparency continues, businesses will need to be mindful as Canadian tax authorities pursue non-privileged information.
  3. Electronic Payment Fraud: With the increasing popularity of electronic payment methods, the need for effective policies and procedures to mitigate the risk of fraud has never been greater.
  4. Trade Agreements: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are primed to have a serious impact on Canadian businesses. The report says it’s important for companies to get a head start in investigating potential risks associated with these agreements.
  5. Anti-spam Law: Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) creates regulations around unsolicited commercial electronic messages, unauthorized commercial installation and use of computer programs, and other forms of online fraud. If these regulations aren’t properly followed, companies could face serious penalties.

For more information and to read about all of potential 2016 legal risks, click here.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Young Employees and IT Security

iStock_bus people w cell-000016828639SmallHiring young employees can bring fresh talent and innovation, giving your company an edge over your competitors. But that edge can quickly be erased, as young workers also bring additional technology risks. According to the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, a study involving almost 3,000 college students and young professionals under age 30, 70 per cent of young employees frequently ignore their company’s information technology (IT) policies.

Millennials have grown accustomed to sharing everything about their personal lives on Internet sites such as Facebook® and YouTube®. This poses a dilemma for an employer: If young employees don’t safeguard their own personal information, how can you entrust them with your company’s sensitive data? Companies with the need to be Internet-savvy must hire young talent, but are these employees worth the risk?

Eye-opening Statistics

The Cisco report says that 80 per cent of young employees either don’t know about their companies’ IT policies or they think they are outdated. Additionally, 25 per cent of those in the study had been a victim of identity theft before age 30.

Why are young employees negligent about IT security? The study found that some young employees’ attitudes and beliefs towards IT policies include the following:

  • They forget about the policies.
  • They think their bosses aren’t watching.
  • They believe the policies are inconvenient.
  • They think they don’t have time to remember the policies while they’re working.
  • They feel the need to access unauthorized programs to get their job done.
  • They believe security is the IT department’s responsibility, not their own.

Additional Risks to Consider

Young employees can compromise IT security by leaving their computers or other personal devices unattended, increasing the risk that that both the equipment and company data could be lost, stolen or misused. Sending work-related emails to personal email accounts and using computers and social networking sites for both work and personal reasons can also compromise IT security. Millennials are more apt to blur the line between using IT for both personal and work-related purposes, which can increase the risk of negligence.

Consider that not only young employees, but all employees can compromise IT security in the following ways:

  • USB flash drives. While these are convenient portable devices for storing information, they make it too easy to take sensitive information out of the office and can be misplaced easily because they are so small.
  • Wi-Fi networks. Whether it’s an employee’s personal Wi-Fi network at home or free Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop, it is important that employees use virtual private network (VPN) and take other security measures when they log in on networks outside of your company.
  • Laptop computers. Lightweight and handy for working remotely, laptops are also susceptible to viruses from improperly-secured Wi-Fi networks.
  • Smartphones. They provide information at your fingertips, but are also another portable way to take sensitive data out of the office.
  • Collaboration websites. Websites, such as a wiki or SharePoint® site, are great tools for employees working together on projects, but it’s critical that only authorized employees are logging in and accessing your company’s projects on these sites.
  • Social media tools. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter™ can benefit your business; however, negligent use, including sharing critical company information, can be a risk.
  • Other communication applications, such as peer-to-peer (P2P), Skype and instant messaging tools. These applications can be vectors for malware and a threat to information security.

Employers shouldn’t necessarily prohibit employees from using technology, as this list includes many tools they need to get the jobs done. It’s important to know the risks and educate young employees to use the technology properly.

Mitigating the Risks

Employers must find the balance between allowing young employees to use social networking websites and portable devices to do their jobs, while at the same time protecting company information. Employers should examine their exposures and consider what level of risk they are willing to accept. Other special considerations for managing young employees and mitigating the risk include:

  • Review your company’s IT policy. If it needs to be updated, ask recent graduates for advice on updating the policy to reflect current changes and trends in IT.
  • Make sure young employees (and all employees) are aware of your company’s IT policy and the consequences if the policy is not followed.
  • Create strong, trusting relationships between young employees and your IT department.
  • Create IT awareness materials so young employees are continually reminded of IT security risks and what they can to do prevent them.
  • Train new young employees on data protection and IT security risks, and provide refresher training for seasoned employees to ensure everyone is aware of the risks and the importance of safeguarding company information.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Risks of Telecommuting for Employers

Best Internet Concept of global business from concepts seriesAllowing employees to work remotely has become increasing popular over the years, as more prospective employees seek the convenience and the work-life balance that telecommuting offers. Telecommuting can generate cost savings, bolster employee morale and help companies attract diverse talent. However, before implementing a telecommuting policy, employers should be aware of the three most common risks.

Productivity and Communication

When employees work off-site and away from management, concerns about workflow and productivity may arise. To address this, communication is key. Not only will consistent check-ins build ongoing relationships, but they will also help remote employees understand what is expected of them.

Network Security

When you give remote employees access to your internal network, you open yourself up to the risk of data breaches. To prevent this, employers should provide secure, company-issued equipment and prohibit administrator privileges.

Social Activities

According to experts, socializing among peers in the workplace is important for morale and trust. Employees who work remotely miss out on these networking opportunities. Holding regular staff meetings that include remote workers will help create a team mentality between on-site and off-site employees. In addition, extending company event invitations to remote employees will make them feel more included.

Although most organizations may treat telecommuting differently, a well-defined remote work policy will set clear expectations for employers and employees. Successful policies should account for the aforementioned risks and can include formal review processes as well as uniform guidelines to determine eligibility.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.




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