Five Critical Risks Impacting Public Sector Organizations Today

November 26, 2018

Public sector organizations struggle to respond to the countless demands placed on them. In addition to the complexity of managing a federal, state or local government-funded entity, today’s stakeholders demand complete transparency. Furthermore, public sector risk managers are expected to proactively mitigate the institution’s risk at the lowest price possible.

Here are five critical risks that are impacting public sector organizations today.

  1. Cyber liability

    In the public sector, as in the private business sector, cyber threats are increasing in complexity and intensity. For example, there have been more than a million different ransomware attacks over the last year. Some experts estimate that there are as many as 60,000 new ransomware variants in a single day. If you have a suspected breach, you may need to hire a high-priced legal firm that will conduct forensics.

    Public sector organizations must get board approval for major expenditures, which exposes their suspicion of a breach to the media. Even if a breach didn’t actually occur, but was only suspected, there will still be damage to the entity’s reputation. Smart risk managers arrange forensics up front and only inform the public when it is appropriate to do so.

  2. Assault and hostage crisis events

    There were 314 reported mass shootings and at least 15,549 gun deaths in 2017. In addition to the tragic loss of life in an active shooter situation, there is also a heavy financial toll on the victims and businesses that are involved. This includes public organizations, such as schools, government entities and public properties.

  3. Health risks for first responders

    There is a growing level of exposure for state and local governments when it comes to the health risks of first responders. There is a substantial cost to the public to cover treatment for police and firefighters who respond to traumatic events. Medical and pharmaceutical costs for injuries and psychological damages sustained as a result of on-the-job exposures can be monumental.

  4. Budget constraints

    All businesses deal with budget constraints, but public sector organizations must accountable to stakeholders and must adhere to their directives. It is not uncommon for public organizations to sustain budget cuts on a regular cycle, requiring managers to get creative at preventing a loss of vital services.

  5. Disaster recovery

    Another real challenge that many public institutions are facing is their ability to recover from natural disasters, such as:
  • Avalanches and landslides
  • Earthquakes
  • Sinkholes
  • Volcanoes
  • Floods
  • Tsunami
  • Thunderstorms
  • Blizzards
  • Hailstorms
  • Ice storms
  • Heat waves
  • Droughts
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Wildfires.

Technology is helping to solve public sector challenges by offering collaborative and communication solutions. Cloud-based technologies allow organizations to streamline processes while scaling their technological needs with budgetary constraints. Many organizations are streamlining their IT processes while implementing network security systems.

Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) offers risk management services and cutting-edge risk solutions to the public sector. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you execute your mission while keeping your assets, people and reputation safe.