When opening a new Cannabis business, risk can be around every corner. From cybersecurity attacks to physical intrusion or missed compliance requirements, it can be hard to shore up all of your defenses to keep risk at bay.

To avoid security and compliance exposure, it’s important to develop an effective risk management program to ensure that your business is effectively managing risk end-to-end and across information assets, data and overall business operations. Lacking a risk management strategy and the accompanying program may lead to a false sense of protection and could potentially impact your daily operations, regulatory compliance or cost you customers.

When implementing and maintaining a strong security and compliance risk management strategy consider the following tips.

  1. Develop your program.A risk management program is critical to achieving the intended goals of an organization’s risk management strategy. Program implementation should align with other defined security and compliance program goals. The lack of a risk management program may lead to ineffective implementation of an organization’s risk management strategy. Risk management control assignment, accountability, and continuous management are key to maintaining an effective program.
  2. Update frequently and adapt. The risk management strategy should be reviewed and updated at least annually. More frequent reviews may be required to address changes to information systems, security control requirements or changes to the overall organization.
  3. Engage all stakeholders. Risk management processes should be established, managed, and agreed upon by appropriate stakeholders and individual control owners. Solicit feedback and approval for the risk management strategy from all appropriate stakeholders within your organization. This is not an IT-only exercise but should be an business-wide exercise from store front to back office.
  4. Perform regular assessments. Once organizations have developed a risk management strategy and program, regular risk assessments should be performed to identify, or update, a list of risk scenarios to which the organization may be susceptible. This process should result in the potential impact for each risk scenario being assessed. Annual risk assessments are not only a best practice, but they are also required by most regulatory bodies to validate that an organization routinely monitors applicable risks and applies appropriate risk treatment or mitigation.
  5. Partner up.A valued partner that understands the unique dynamics of the Cannabis business can have a great deal of value in mitigating risk and developing a proven risk management strategy. Experts, like the team at CannabisIT, will help you navigate risk pitfalls and overcome challenges based on industry best practices and experience.
  6. Don’t delay. Organizations need to have defined processes in place for completing risk treatment and mitigation activities at all times, from opening throughout the business lifecycle. Without a risk management program in place, exposures can be business critical causing downtime, fines or even shut down. Develop your risk plan and clearly define task owners to ensure that appropriate personnel are held accountable for addressing identified risks. If not, organizations may fall victim to one of the worst types of risk – one of which they are aware but do nothing to resolve.

Your Cannabis business must ensure that a comprehensive risk management strategy is developed and implemented consistently across all parts of the business. By developing a risk management strategy and program, supported by all organizational stakeholders, you’ll ensure that your business can avoid key risk pitfalls and you can operate with confidence. Contact us for a risk management consultation.