Emerging Risks That May Threaten Businesses in 2017

The global market and the economy are shifting rapidly. As events such as Brexit and Trump’s Presidency begin to unfold, many business owners and entrepreneurs are wondering what is going to happen next. People have a tendency to try and predict the future, as preparing for it gives them peace of mind. This is no different in the world of business.

CEOs and business owners would like to peek around the corner and find out what’s on the other side. As 2016 raised some serious questions and predictions, risk assessment teams are working overtime trying to determine what awaits us in 2017 and what kind of risks this year has in store for businesses.


Geopolitical Destabilisation

One of the biggest emerging risks is forcing, not just business owners but everyone else, to rethink their strategies. The world has always been full of conflicts and wars, but nowadays, in an increasingly interconnected world, they seem to have a much larger impact on the economy and businesses. With millions of people moving and migrating because of war or economic reasons, the outcome is uncertain. This is a type of risk that can’t have a measurable outcome or be precisely anticipated. Therefore, business owners should expect the best and prepare for the worst.


Technological Advancement

Automation and artificial intelligence are on the rise in both popularity and practicality. Most people are viewing this technological boom as something to be in awe of. Automated robotic workers are already starting to replace human workers in certain sectors, proving to be more cost-effective and a lot more productive. This can be a great opportunity for some business owners as they can improve productivity and work even more efficiently by using robots. However, the solution for a sudden increase in human unemployment due to replacement, hasn’t presented itself yet. With increasing productivity but decreasing employment, this can very much be a double-edged sword for the economy and businesses.


Cyber Attacks

As we all well know, cyber attacks have been around almost as long as technology itself. Still, it’s considered an emerging risk. Of course, as technology advances so do cyber attacks, becoming more sophisticated and innovative. Most technological business concepts revolve around the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting various devices together to create a smart network of useful adaptations.

However, the largest distributed denial of service cyber attack (DDoS) prior to the United States elections in 2016 was possible due to IoT devices. Businesses are at risk, for their owners must rethink their IoT testing and increase their cyber security protocols in case of a DDoS repeat. It is safe to say that a lot more can be expected from cyber attacks with hackers always finding a new and improved way to breach security.


Social Justice and Liberalism

2016 marked the rise of all kinds of social justice warriors and neo-liberals that celebrate diversity and human rights. With voicing your opinion easier now than ever before, one may voice it and not even be aware that such an opinion can be taken as offensive. A noble and perspective cause can easily be turned into a personal gain in 2017. From a business perspective, this can get bad in an instance. One wrong advertisement placement and a person may get offended because your ad assumed their gender or violated their “safe space”. Before a firm knows it, an advertisement may land them in a tricky lawsuit. After all, it’s no secret that people take advantage of such opportunities in order to get rich. This kind of lawsuit may force companies and businesses to hire litigation support services to help them prevail in such disputes. Perhaps, this rising social development can get out of hand and become a risk for businesses in 2017.


Climate Change

Unfortunately, many business owners do not see this emerging risk as a risk to their business in particular. However, humanity is destroying the eco-system at its fastest rate in history without bothering too much about the consequences or how to fix the problem. Supply chains can be destroyed by floods, factories can be devastated by hurricanes, entire locations can be grounded by earthquakes and recourses can be strained. Businesses who take this risk into calculation may have a corporate advantage over those who don’t. Company owners who have this risk in mind may be able to avoid such disasters and by investing in sustainability and renewable energy, they may even see a profitable future.


These are just a few emerging risks among many that lurk over the horizon. What else we can expect from 2017 remains to be seen. As political powers play their chess game and reshape the world once again, company owners can only wait and see what other risks emerge to threaten their business.