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Speaking the same language: Understanding IT risks within your organisation

In the fast-paced digital world, understanding and managing IT risks is crucial for organisations.

(Sponsored by Protecht)

In the fast-paced digital world, understanding and managing IT risks is crucial for organisations.  A key challenge is ensuring there is a unified understanding of IT risks across the organisation.

Beware of illusions

A common pitfall in risk management is the ‘illusion of communication’ – the assumption that everyone is on the same page, when in reality they may not be. The issue becomes particularly pronounced when dealing with broad umbrella terms like cyber risk, IT risk, and privacy risk. Are we talking about the same thing?

Imagine two executives meet in the hallway. They start having a conversation about ‘cyber risk’. The first is concerned about cyber risk, and missed the last management meeting. The second executive explains that she has spent time reviewing recent reports from the cyber team, and asked a few questions which were quickly answered to her satisfaction. The first executive walks away, feeling a bit more comfortable.

Except… in reality, the first executive was thinking about technology disruption; in the back of his mind recalling several major disruptions in the headlines caused by technical glitches or poor technology change management. The assurance the second executive was referring to came from a team whose focus was only on external malicious threats. Change management may have been quite poor.

Defining the risks

Before we dive into management strategies, it’s vital to clarify the different types of IT risks. Often, terms like ‘cyber risk’, ‘IT risk’, and ‘privacy risk’ are used interchangeably, leading to confusion.

  • Cyber risk refers to uncertainties created by cyber activities that impact organisational objectives. This includes external threats like hacking and internal issues like data breaches.
  • IT risk encompasses uncertainties created by technology that affect objectives. This can range from operational risks like system failures to strategic risks like technology investments not aligning with business goals.
  • Privacy risk involves uncertainties regarding the handling of personal information, often in line with regulatory compliance.

Information security takes a more complete approach to managing information, no matter how it is stored or communicated. Definitions of information security focus on confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. By focusing on these three properties, common information security or cyber security frameworks provide coverage across not just cyber, but broader privacy and technology risks as well.

Fight all of the threats at once

Protecting confidentiality also protects personal information from unauthorised disclosure. Maintaining integrity of data helps protect against external threats while ensuring personal information remains accurate – and therefore continues to be used for its intended purpose. Maintaining availability is consistent with both protecting against malicious actors as well as accidental or technical issues that give rise to disruption.

What are some more specific ways in which you can mitigate all kinds of IT risk?

Centralised IT risk management: Centralising risk-related information is crucial for cohesive IT risk management. A unified platform ensures that everyone accesses the same information, leading to a consistent understanding of IT risks. This involves integrating libraries and registers for IT risk, controls, activities, and policies.

Assessment and monitoring: Regular assessment and monitoring are essential in identifying and prioritising vulnerabilities. Communicating these assessments across the organisation ensures a shared understanding of the current risk landscape and mitigation measures.

Streamlining IT controls for compliance: Integrating IT risk frameworks such as NIST, ISO 27000, and PCI DSS into daily operations is vital. Streamlining IT controls makes compliance a part of the organisational culture, enhancing IT risk management.

Managing regulatory change: Staying informed about regulatory changes is crucial. Tools that provide up-to-date compliance content and alerts help the organisation adapt to changes, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

Effective communication and reporting: Clear communication and reporting mechanisms are vital in IT risk management. User-centric interfaces and visualisations make complex data understandable and actionable. Regular reporting ensures alignment across the organisation.

Conclusions and next steps for your organisation

Understanding IT risks within an organisation requires a unified language and approach. This involves clarifying different types of IT risks, centralising risk management information, regular assessments, streamlining compliance processes, adapting to regulatory changes, and effective communication. By adopting these practices, organisations can manage their IT risks effectively and foster a proactive risk management culture.

Are you ready to elevate your organisation’s IT risk management to the next level? Protecht ERM is here to guide you every step of the way. Our comprehensive Enterprise Risk Management solution is designed to help you achieve:

  • Unified risk language: Protecht ERM aids in establishing a common understanding of IT risks across your organisation, ensuring that everyone from the boardroom to the IT department is aligned.
  • Centralised risk management: With our platform, you can centralise all your risk-related data, providing a single source of truth that enhances decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Streamlined compliance and control: Protecht ERM simplifies compliance with various IT risk frameworks, integrating them seamlessly into your business processes and reducing the complexity of managing multiple standards.
  • Dynamic assessment and monitoring: Our solution offers dynamic tools for risk assessment and monitoring, ensuring that you stay ahead of potential vulnerabilities and respond effectively to emerging threats.
  • Effective communication and reporting: Protecht ERM’s user-friendly interfaces and powerful reporting tools ensure that risk information is communicated clearly and effectively throughout your organisation.

To find out more about information security in Protecht ERM, watch our recorded demo of  Protecht’s Information Security Risk Management solution:

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