The it of IT Risk Management

This week we’re discussing IT risk management, a topic that is never really complete and should always be part of the conversation at your place of business. At its most basic level, IT risk management is applying risk management methods to any area of information technology; you identify threats and vulnerabilities to your resources, and decide what actions to take and when. While this sounds simple enough, it’s a crucial subset of your company’s overall risk management and requires constant monitoring and improvement. Let’s dive in.

IT Risk Management Importance

As with all aspects of risk management, IT risk management is an indefinite process. New threats and vulnerabilities emerge in the business environment almost as quickly as solutions can be prepared. This is even more so true in IT, as technology advances at an ever-increasing rate. Old threats and solutions need to be reevaluated regularly to ensure the processes in place are still effective and are being followed. The identification, assessment, and management of IT risks ensures your business continues to operate smoothly and you avoid any fines for negligence or noncompliance.

It may often be the case that after identifying a threat to one of your assets, your company decides not to take countermeasures to lower risk. This often occurs with resources that aren’t vital to the company. This is standard, and an essential component of management as you decide how to best allocate your resources. IT risk management is essential because it forces you to take a closer look at all of your company’s assets and determine their value and importance in your priorities.

You’ll also find there is an increasing number of regulations and a demand for operational transparency. Not only when required, but for the safety of other businesses, third parties and partners might request proof of your compliance with certain laws, policies, regulations, or best practices. An organization in the U.S. may only have to be compliant with NIST, but for doing business globally, they’ll then have to check compliance against ISO to show they meet international standards.

After a study discussed by Safran, we know a staggering 92% of CEOs that were surveyed agree that having information about risk is important or critical to long-term success. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, it really comes down to being able to plan for business continuity and understanding your goals for your organization. You didn’t think people wanted to know their IT risk just for amusement, did you?

IT Risk Management Methodology

Different methodologies and frameworks were created to guide the IT management process, and each has its own steps and processes. Often, you’ll find that these frameworks align with content. ISO and COBIT, for example, are very similar and so companies prepping assessments will typically choose just one or the other for content.

ISO covers information security management (policy/procedures), whereas NIST 800-53 covers actual controls/safeguards but you will find that both will have you verify that your organization employs a secure log-on procedure. Some crossover is never a bad thing as it allows you to ensure that you’re not bypassing any important areas of risk management.

Ultimately, the standards you select for your assessment are going to bring to light some degree of risk. I’ve briefly mentioned some of these, but the following standards and best practices are popular for use in understanding IT risk and are worth briefly looking into:

  • ISO 27001
  • CIS Cloud Security
  • CSA Critical Controls
  • NIST 800 Series & CSF

Many tools offer limited visibility and leave organizations vulnerable to threats both internally and within third-party networks. Utilizing data-driven security ratings can help you continuously monitor and measure your cybersecurity.

Feel free to sign up for a trial of CyberWatch and pick one of the suggested standards for IT risk management. We now let you select whatever content library you want to try. Let us know if you have any questions, and remember that you may want to stay in the bliss of being ignorant of your risk, but you can’t plan for what you don’t know.

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