A few weeks ago, we explored managing risks arising from situations of a delicate nature that cannot be widely disclosed within the enterprise. Because the conventional risk management apparatus — plans, meetings, publication, review and approval — is likely to lead to inappropriate disclosure of sensitive personal information, either such risks are not managed properly, or sensitive personal information is disclosed inappropriately or even illegally.
Let's examine what we would need to do to manage these risks while maintaining an appropriate level of confidentiality.
- Confidentiality infrastructure
- Whatever infrastructure we deploy must be capable of maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive personal information. It's likely that we need a tiered structure for access to personnel-sensitive risk management information. When designing or modifying procedures for managing personnel-sensitive risks, experts in management, security, risk management, and human resources must be involved.
- Multi-part risk plans
- Because some parts of a given risk plan could contain sensitive information, those parts might have to be separated and have controlled access. The number of controlled-access components of a risk plan could depend on the individuals who present personnel-sensitive risks. For instance, in a need-to-know based system, if risks associated with two people are involved and they have different supervisors, we might need independently confidential risk plan components for the two personnel-sensitive risks.
- Access for project managers and sponsors
- For a given project, the project manager and sponsor must have full access to risk management artifacts. To develop and manage their risk plan, they might need access to personnel-sensitive information not normally available to them. This could require adjustment of existing policies.
- Confidential risk reviews for personnel-sensitive risks
- Currently, It's likely that we need a tiered
structure for controlled access
to personnel-sensitive risk
management informationrisk plan review is usually conducted without regard to personnel confidentiality. That process can continue for the enterprise-public portions of risk plans, but the personnel-sensitive components must be reviewed in a confidential manner.
- Confidential budgeting and resource allocation
- Components of project budgets and resource allocation plans intended to cover personnel-sensitive risks can remain enterprise-public, but the documents justifying these budgets and allocations are likely to be confidential and have controlled access, in parallel with the risk plans that drive them.
- Since the people involved in these procedures include some who are unfamiliar with procedures for maintaining confidentiality of personnel matters, training in personnel confidentiality is probably required. And since many of those already familiar with personnel matters are probably unfamiliar with the ways of risk management, they might also require some training.
Because the set of people with access to a given controlled-access document or decision can vary with the content of the document or decision, the requirement for confidentiality of some risk plan components can become cumbersome. But the alternatives — either non-compliance with regulations or poor risk management or both — is worse. First in this series Top Next Issue
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More articles on Ethics at Work:
- When You Aren't Supposed to Say: I
- Most of us have information that's "company confidential," or possibly even more sensitive
than that. When we encounter individuals who try to extract that information, we're better able to protect
it if we know their techniques.
- When You Aren't Supposed to Say: III
- Most of us have information that's "company confidential," or even more sensitive than that.
Sometimes people who want to know what we know try to suspend our ability to think critically. Here
are some of their techniques.
- On Organizational Coups d'Etat
- If your boss is truly incompetent, or maybe even evil, organizing a coup d'etat might have crossed
your mind. In most cases, it's wise to let it cross on through, all the way. Think of alternative ways out.
- Managing Personal Risk Management
- When we bias organizational decisions to manage our personal risks, we're sometimes acting ethically
— and sometimes not. What can we do to limit personal risk management?
- Influence and Belief Perseverance
- Belief perseverance is the pattern that causes us to cling more tightly to our beliefs when contradictory
information arrives. Those who understand belief perseverance can use it to manipulate others.
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- And on February 27: Brainstorming and Speedstorming: II
- Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming. Available here and by RSS on February 27.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.