Pandemic Response Sparks Emerging Risk Concerns

Morgan O'Rourke


June 1, 2021


People waiting in line, social distancing and wearing masks.

In a recent Gartner survey, senior executives cited cybersecurity control failures as the top emerging risk in the first quarter of 2021, stemming largely from the speedy implementation of remote work last year. “Many organizations were forced to implement quick fixes to serious operational gaps as a result of their initial pandemic responses,” said Matt Shinkman, vice president in Gartner’s risk and audit practice. “Nowhere has that been more apparent than in cybersecurity policies that have prioritized on-premises security over secure remote work access. Executives responsible for these areas are realizing that the time to enact more sustainable and robust policies is now.”

Among the other top emerging risks, several also related to changes made in response to COVID-19, including: adjusting to a new working model that must take into account augmented work schedules, social distancing requirements and other workspace changes; managing and allocating resources for a remote and hybrid workforce; and preventing the degradation of organizational culture among a virtual workforce.


Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)