Data protection is a priority in any business. Developing risk control strategies to minimise and control risk is an essential aspect of responsible business management. The following framework will help you conduct a thorough risk assessment of potential threats to your business. With a prior knowledge of any potential weaknesses in your current strategies, you’ll be able to minimise any vulnerabilities, safeguard your data and maximise the efficiency of your response.


The best way to ensure effective data protection is to prevent exploitation of any vulnerabilities in the first place. Your thorough risk assessment should identify your most at-risk areas of operation, and support a detailed plan of action for risk control. All individuals and business units should be prepared to work together to safeguard your information and implement a cohesive defence of your data.

Apply relevant defensive measures to all areas of your operation. Download protective safeguards, and educate yourself and your staff on the best, most relevant business practices. Proactive defensive measures are the best way to minimise risk.


In order to reduce the impact of an exploited vulnerability in your business, you can transfer a portion of the risk to another party. Transferral of risk spreads any potentially negative impact across multiple parties, making it easier to absorb. Insurance is a simple, well-known method of transferring risk and an effective data protection method.

If you’re entering into an agreement with another party, consider stipulating terms of risk management in the contract. Being able to apportion financial responsibility between relevant entities can be a huge benefit to your ability to manage risk and protect your data. Transferral is an integral part of controlling risk as it allows smaller companies to speculate on otherwise unreachable opportunities.


Mitigation of risk attempts to reduce the impact of an attack by minimising the damage caused. Acting upon any flaws highlighted by your risk assessment will help ensure the problem is curtailed and your data protection future-proofed. Think critically from the viewpoint of an organisation that might try to exploit your vulnerabilities, and implement any changes that would limit their success.

Initiating compensatory controls is a method of mitigation that is popular and successful for its generally favourable ROI. It’s often cheaper and more efficient to prepare a compensatory plan instead of spending resources on defending a theoretical attack.


Businesses sometimes simply accept an element of risk without trying to defend against it in any way. This is only considered to be a financially prudent strategy when the likelihood of a risk being exploited will be outweighed by the cost of defence or mitigation.

Acceptance is a risky strategy – in itself, it has saved many organisations money, but in some cases has backfired tremendously. Research the probability of your vulnerabilities being exploited, and offset this against the cost of protecting yourself against them. Acceptance sometimes fails to consider the moral or ethical impact of an attack, or public perception, and instead focuses purely on financial calculations. If your data protection defences are breached, your reputation will take a long time to recover, with a devastating impact on your bottom line.


Removing an asset from a high-risk environment is known as termination. By removing the asset or entity from the situation, the risk is instantly eradicated. The cost of the termination may be felt in other areas, so it’s up to you to weigh up the benefits of the strategy specific to your own circumstances. Backing up digital data onto a separate network is a common method of termination and data protection. By removing the files from the main network, you’ve separated the asset from the source of the risk.

Take the risk out of your contracts

At Four, when it comes to secure contract management, Cobblestone’s Contract Insight is our preferred software. It will help you rapidly organise, manage and protect sensitive information.  It has a central contract repository for secure archiving and auditing. Plus, it can alert you to contracts that contain language relating to a security breach, so that if your systems are attacked, you can act immediately.

Contract Insight offers multi-level cyber security for comprehensive data protection. Additionally, it is infinitely flexible when it comes to in-house security, with access control allowed by person, group, location, business unit or companywide.

Contract Insight’s security in detail

  • A state-of-the-art contract management software tool that is easy to use, simple to install and reduces your total cost of contracts.
  • A Windows PC-based contract management software solution, with systems hosted on Microsoft Internet Technologies, utilising Windows Servers, .NET technologies and Microsoft’s MS SQL Server Database to store and retrieve data faster and more reliably.
  • Security features include dedicated firewalls, monitored ports, monitored logs, backups, failover facilities, private web, private databases and server scans – all with username and password authentication to shore up your data protection protocols.
  • Cobblestone also provides dedicated Windows or third-party digital certificates such as VeriSign, DigiCert and Thawte as an option. The client-deployed model has an option to integrate security with Active Directory.
  • Contract Insight Enterprise can be either installed on your company’s servers or hosted as a Cloud-based SaaS solution. On-site help is available from our team, or you can allow Four Business Solutions to manage the solution via our cloud deployment. Either way, the result is an extremely high level of security, suitable for most organisations.

In conclusion

Controlling your levels of risk and minimising the effects of an attack gives your business a better standard of data protection against unforeseen breaches of your informational security. In the mercurial world of data management, it’s not always possible to keep your information completely secure but minimising the risks you face could have a huge impact on the health and stability of your business.

If you’d like a free trial to understand how Contract Insight can boost your security and further minimise your risk, please call us on 0800 6250 025.

John O’Brien is the CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain & Operations, across a broad range of industries.