Risky business

April 24, 2023

Research & Innovation

In this episode of Spider Talks, President Kevin F. Hallock talks with Shital Thekdi, an analytics and operations professor in the Robins School of Business, about her research and teaching, which focus on risk assessment.

“Everything from the decisions we make about our health and our jobs to the weather forecast to our account passwords is rooted in risk,” Thekdi said. “There are risk analysts and risk managers with titles, but the reality is that we're all responsible for risk. Everyone in an organization, every employee and partner, is responsible.”

Thekdi noted that the increase in remote work due to the pandemic introduced new risks for businesses.

“Organizations were largely unprepared for the shift to remote work,” Thekdi said. “When working in a physical building, there are often physical safeguards in place. With the shift to remote work, a lot of those safeguards were gone, and risk events can happen from small occurrences. One leaked password or the use of a legacy VPN that that doesn't use multifactor authentication can cause real harm to an organization.”

Business leaders should focus on building a strong risk culture, Thekdi said.

“That means that every person in the organization has to have an understanding and also some role to play in the risk policies,” Thekdi said. “We can't live in a bubble and protect ourselves from every single risk event that can happen, but we can prioritize and understand what are the highest priority risks that need to be treated. And the stronger the risk culture, the more resilient organizations and we are in general.”

This is the final episode of Season 5 of Spider Talks and the 33rd interview in the series.

Spider Talks has featured faculty from all five schools and many disciplines. See more episodes on UR Now.