October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means now is a great time to take stock of your organization’s cybersecurity and IT risk management practices.
Last week, we looked at recent cybersecurity statistics that revealed some sobering trends in the area of IT risk management. Many organizations are unprepared to deal with cyber and data security challenges and don’t have a plan to address incidents, or even a method for measuring IT risk.
Missed the first installment of our cybersecurity series? Read it here.
A 2018 cyber and data security risk survey found that organizations face roughly the same amount of vulnerability to risk no matter their size. And in a threat landscape that’s constantly and rapidly evolving, businesses can’t afford not to have a risk management roadmap.
Let’s look at some cybersecurity best practices that set the foundation for a strong IT risk management program.
To accurately assess your organization’s cyber risk exposure, you need a big-picture perspective of your IT functions and assets and any associated vulnerabilities, risks, and controls.
By mapping those items to business processes and performance, you’ll be able to look for any patterns, anomalies, or hidden risk factors as you develop a risk management strategy.
Increasing visibility is much easier when you consolidate all your data and risk management activities within a single digital platform. Digitization offers a number of benefits, from simply saving time, to tracking regulatory compliance, to reducing human error.
And human error can have big repercussions when it comes to technology-related risk. A recent report on data security found that unintentional employee errors cause nearly 1 in 5 data breaches.
Case in point: The former CEO of Equifax attributed the company’s much-publicized 2017 data breach to human error — an incident that cost around $300 million and compromised nearly 150 million consumers’ data, according to a recent disclosure of the full impact of the breach.
But organizing and digitizing your IT risk management activities only sets the foundation. To really maximize your oversight, you need to connect IT functions and resources to business operations and measure their impact.
This involves sharing data between your IT risk management and broader enterprise risk management activities. A risk assessment will be a critical part of the process. A complete risk profile will help you pinpoint any issues related to compliance, security, and other risk factors.
You can then use that frame of reference to communicate IT value and needs to management or other stakeholders. The groundwork done up to this point will help inform budgeting, further IT investments, and other strategic decisions.
Finally, with that information in hand, it’s time to address vulnerabilities, high-priority risks, control gaps, and other issues that your risk assessment revealed.
Here’s where the earlier process of mapping out your IT functions and assets will come in handy. As you develop risk management initiatives, you’ll be able to align them with business objectives to define risk appetite and tolerances.
This is also a good opportunity to identify and address any outdated or poorly defined management processes and test incident response plans.
The rate of technological change and evolving threats can leave your important IT systems and data vulnerable. If you’re looking for a solution that grows with your business and keeps pace with cybersecurity best practices, Quantivate’s IT Risk Management Software can help you proactively identify, prioritize, and protect your critical resources in one centralized platform.