EY Forensics experts at Institute of Risk Management (IRM) India Regional Group webinar urge companies to leverage technology in combating fraud risk

Mumbai: The India Regional Group of the UK based Institute of Risk Management and EY Forensic & Integrity Services, recently held a joint online masterclass to discuss the increased risk of fraud, including financial, compliance, and digital, especially as companies face increased financial pressures and cases of fraud in the ongoing global pandemic. The panel, comprising Arpinder Singh, Partner and Head – India and Emerging Markets, Forensic and Integrity Services, EY, and Shabarinath S Kandala, Director, Forensic and Integrity Services at EY, highlighted various ways in which technology can help in combating fraud in the future.

The webinar saw participation by 300+ individuals, comprising entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, professionals, and C-Suite executives from across key industry sectors.

Welcoming the panelists, Rama Warrier, Deputy Chair, IRM India Regional Group, said:

“For over thirty years, IRM has been the global leader in enterprise risk management qualifications and exams across 143 countries. The pandemic has highlighted the possibility of organisations being confronted with new and more dangerous risks in a future that grows increasingly uncertain. The idea behind our masterclasses and webinars is to help organisations, students and professionals understand the need for a holistic approach to enterprise wide risk management in protecting business and to educate them on the myriad of solutions that can aid them in becoming resilient against emerging challenges. It is our belief that, in this VUCA world, the only way to mitigate unexpected risks is to collaborate and leverage any resource necessary, and we are grateful to EY Forensics & Integrity Services for their help in accomplishing this objective.”

The Covid-19 crisis and widespread economic difficulties have created immense complexities for businesses, and they have been facing severe and protracted disruption in operations, supply chains, and issues affecting a remote workforce. As organisations are compelled to deal with tough choices, the risk of different types of fraud, compliance violations, unethical behaviour, IP theft, and loss of company and consumer data, has risen greatly. However, many companies in India are inadequately equipped to combat these risks. According to EY’s 21st Global Information Security Survey, conducted earlier this year, 55% of organisations do not make ‘protecting’ a part of their business strategy, 53% either have no cyber security program or an obsolete one, and 38% would be unlikely to detect a sophisticated breach source device.

Discussing how organisations need to be alert to such risks, Arpinder Singh, Partner and Head – India and Emerging Markets, Forensic and Integrity Services, EY, said:

“Organisations should concentrate on advocating integrity and ethics in business conduct, building trust among partners, and protecting consumer and company confidential data, to circumnavigate present and future fraud risk. During the pandemic, many companies adopted a passive approach to cyber security, reacting to breaches and attacks rather than proactively pre-empting them, leading to even more losses than the lockdown had already caused. Technology is the key to solving these problems, and it is vital for companies to focus on leveraging technologies to secure their operations and sensitive information, and by extension, their reputation.”

He further, added:

“Technology has played a distinctive role in anticipating frauds that companies have usually struggled with. For example, companies have used technology to perform employee background checks, in the form of self-verification of remote working employees, education verification through various online sources, ID, criminal and employment check, and digital self-address verification with geo tagging. At the same time, various technological deficiencies have exposed businesses to cyber-attacks such as malware, phishing, ransomware, and data theft that have affected the workings of a lot of companies. Therefore, it is critical for companies to recognise and utilise various technology applications and programs, to ensure data, infrastructure, and company security.”

Companies across the world have been leveraging technological advancements, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to predict potential fraud scenarios. The present uncertainties have highlighted the need for organisations to be agile in the face of unpredictability, by implementing enterprise-wide risk management controls that incorporate new and emerging technologies, to keep businesses secure and meet organisational goals.