27 Jul Performing Remote Risk Assessments Amid COVID-19
Remote Risk Assessments
Due to COVID-19, travel has become increasingly difficult and dangerous. So much so, that many businesses require a 14-day isolation period for anyone who has traveled within that time. As government regulations consistently change as well, many are being forced to make last-minute adjustments without any formal planning. As you can imagine, this does not coincide well with company assessments.
Fortunately, modern-day technology makes remote work possible. This blog looks at how to perform remote risk assessments and the benefits of doing so.
Benefits of Remote Assessments
So, knowing remote risk assessments are possible, why should we consider them? The most obvious answer in today’s climate is that it will help keep your employees safe. While measures like social distancing and PPE, such as face masks and gloves, aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19, nothing is completely effective. Eliminating travel for employees reduces their chances of being exposed to the virus. Plus, despite company input, the inability to travel could become a huge obstacle as well. With airlines opening and closing and countries closing borders, it could prove difficult for an employee to reach their destination. For example, currently, 33 countries have banned U.S. citizens from crossing their borders.
While COVID-19’s time will surely pass, a timeless benefit of remote assessments is the financial gain of eliminating travel. Many companies have the team member leading the assessment drive or fly to different facilities to collect data. Cut travel costs by utilizing existing resources at those sites to collect information. Data shows that the average business trip costs companies $1,293 – a total comprised of lodging, transportation, and meals.
The third-largest benefit is the time savings that come with remote assessments. When considering the resources put into a business trip, one of the biggest concerns is the time spent coordinating flights, buses, hotels, and any other needs of the traveler. In addition, there is of course the time wasted by the employee that is traveling. Instead of commuting, they could be in the office (or at home) completing their assessment.
On another consideration, there are employees who don’t have enough time to waste any at all. Perhaps you’re in a situation where your team has recently been reduced, but expectations still exist. Not only can remote assessments clear up time for those overworked individuals, but utilizing software can significantly decrease time commitments. The time savings directly results in increased productivity from employees who are then able to devote their unused time to other tasks.
How Would Remote Assessments Work?
While remote assessments can certainly be performed via emails and spreadsheets, this isn’t efficient and allows room for error. We will be covering the use of risk assessment software, such as the RiskWatch platform, to perform these remote assessments.
Now, to put a remote assessment into perspective, we first need to look at how a traditional assessment would be performed. First you would need to determine the scope of the assessment, who the participants would be, and what criteria the assessment would be performed against. Then you would collect data from the site utilizing select contacts that are knowledgeable in the areas you’re assessing. These steps would not change. For the sake of example, let’s say you are assessing a facility.
Within your software, you would first create the facility. This is as simple as adding a name within the software and labeling as the area to assess. This allows you to assess each area separately yet still compare results after the assessments are finished. Then you add your site contacts or the employees who will be providing your assessment data. This is as simple as adding their email address and name. Whereas in a manual process, the assessment manager would be required to meet with each individual to collect data for the assessment, the software allows an automated process of introducing these individuals to the software and asking them to complete the questions in their own time.
After selecting contacts, you would select the content relevant to your assessment. Our content library allows you to segment each area of questions so you can divide them easily among staff members and see clearly which categories pose the most risk to your organization. For example, if you are utilizing the ISO27001 content, you can assign one member to complete administrative controls and another to complete access controls. These questions can have a deadline assigned that will automatically trigger alerts to contacts when they have unfinished tasks. If ignored, the software will escalate messages to the project manager. This saves time spent communicating with team members and micromanaging their responsibilities.
To learn more about performing remote risk assessments, listen to our instructional video below. To follow along, request free access to our risk assessment software.