To get a better understanding of this topic, in the present article we are going to discuss
What is IT risk management?
- How does IT risk management work?
- Why is IT risk management important?
- What are the stages of an IT risk management strategy?
So, let’s begin with a short definition.
What Is IT Risk Management?
In general, risk management refers to every action related to the identification, assessment and control of threats posed for the life of a business.
In a similar way, IT risk management (or information technology risk management) refers to the set of actions related to the identification, prioritisation and mitigation of threats posed to the IT infrastructure of a business, meaning the hardware, software, networks and data used within a company.
In that way, it is used as a prevention method against IT malfunctions caused by hardware failure, human error, physical damage, cyberthreats, and data breaches.
More often than not, the term “IT risk management” is used interchangeably with the term “information security management” whereas they don’t have exactly the same meaning. While both of them include the measures taken for business information and data protection, IT risk management constitutes a much wider referring to the security of other IT assets as well.
To understand more precisely how IT security is ensured through IT risk management, let’s delve into more detail on the way IT risk management works.
How Does IT Risk Management Work?
The complexity and variety of measures that need to be taken within an IT risk management framework call for high IT expertise from the team that will be put in charge.
An in-house or outsourced IT team designs the IT risk management plan and executes the measures proposed with the help of specific IT tools. These tools allow automated actions that have to do with:
- The supervision of hardware status
- The identification of access risks
- Patch management
- Data management
- The monitoring of integrated third-party software
But why is it that important to establish an IT risk management framework and make use of such tools?
Why Is IT Risk Management Important?
To begin with, IT risk management provides businesses with the necessary methods and tools for the identification and tackling of potential risks.
In that way, it helps businesses realise existent dangers, such as device malfunctions and or cyberattacks, and mitigate their current consequences on the IT infrastructure.
This means that IT risk management also constitutes a cornerstone of a complete cybersecurity and prevention policy.
At the same time, it empowers businesses with an emergency action plan when an IT-related issue occurs. Therefore, each business can respond to such an issue and recover more promptly.
All of the above reduce the possibility of the company’s employees getting distracted from their everyday assignments, resulting in the smooth operation of the company as a whole.
Therefore, having established the importance of IT risk management for a business, it’s time to see what steps one must follow to implement an IT risk management strategy.
What Are the Stages of an IT Risk Management Strategy?
In this context, we will analyse the process of creating an IT risk management strategy in the following six steps.
Stage #1: Trust an MSP
The extended IT team of an MSP whose primary responsibility is to design and implement an IT risk management strategy may prove to be more efficient than an internal IT team burdened with various IT-related tasks of the company.
As an outsourced IT services provider, Orthology takes charge of the management of IT security projects, as is an IT risk management strategy, providing complete consultation and monitoring of its results.
In this way, Orthology facilitates the execution of all stages needed to implement such a strategy.
Stage #2: Identify points of vulnerability
Another crucial step for the implementation of an IT risk management strategy is the identification of possible vulnerability points.
Vulnerability points can either be signs of future malfunctions within the IT infrastructure or system/network errors that may be used as “portals” for malicious users to infiltrate your system.
In order for the identification to be executed successfully, IT experts usually take advantage of specialised IT tools that perform automated scannings of all your IT assets.
Stage #3: Assess IT risk level
After detecting possible vulnerabilities, it is of equal importance to evaluate their risk level.
Each vulnerability bears its own characteristics and, thus, can bring about consequences of different severity to the IT infrastructure of your business.
Understanding their level of severity is a necessary step in order to proceed to the next stage: prioritisation.
Stage #4: Prioritise IT risks
To prioritise IT risks one must bear a variety of factors in mind.
It is important to consider not only the risk level of each vulnerability but also the specific risk mitigation measures that need to be taken.
Taking into account also the necessary countermeasures helps you establish how much time is required to deal with each IT risk and at what cost.
In such a way, you can prioritise IT risks according to your current needs and capacities.
Stage #5: Mitigate IT risks
Throughout the design process of an IT risk management strategy, it is necessary to implement mitigation controls against the existent threats that surpass the risk tolerance of your IT infrastructure.
Some examples of mitigation controls are:
- Firewalls (e.g. KerioControl)
- Antivirus softwares (e.g. N-able EDR)
- Data encryption
- Data back-up applications (e.g. EaseUS)
- Keeping softwares updated
- Multi-factor authentication systems
Stage #6: Monitor IT risk status
Last but not least, we must note that IT risk management is not a one-time task.
After the design and implementation of the IT risk management strategy, it is imperative to monitor its outcomes.
There is always a possibility that the strategy followed cannot practically cover the IT security needs of a business or that the IT risks that were initially assessed have changed unexpectedly.
That is why it is important to assess your IT risk status even after multiple prevention or security measures have been deployed within the IT risk management framework.
With these last points, we concluded the last part of our analysis on IT risk management. Therefore, let’s make a summary of what was mentioned on the whole.
To Sum Up
Overall, we referred to what IT risk management is, how it works, what it is important and, lastly, the six necessary stages of an IT risk management strategy.
As the first stage of such a strategy, we underlined the importance of collaborating with an MSP that will take charge of designing and deploying all tasks related to IT risk management.
In this context, Orthology provides an extensive range of IT services, including the installation of specialised IT tools, employee training and outsourced IT project management, as is IT risk management.
Therefore, if you wish to learn more about how to implement an IT risk management strategy with the help of Orthology, don’t hesitate to contact us, so as to get solutions adjusted to your needs!