What Is IT Risk Management?

IT risk management is a strategic approach to risk. It requires implementing the right policies, procedures and technology to detect and remediate risk at all levels of the organization. Though this can be done manually, many organizations need help developing a cohesive IT risk management process that can serve each department’s different goals and priorities.

Why Is IT Risk Management Important?

IT risk management is important because it’s the best way for an organization to decrease its risk exposure. This has very real implications for an organization’s bottom line. Organizations with security automation in place spend $3.58 million less on data breaches than those without. Effective IT risk management can also make for a stronger, more competitive organization since it empowers executive teams to make better, data-driven decisions that can keep the business healthy in the long term.

What Is the Goal of an IT Risk Management Plan?

A modern IT risk management plan aims to identify risks before they cause breaches. It’s about shoring up the organization’s risk management approach in a world where risks are ever-increasing, and putting processes in place to remediate risks when they arise. Organizations with successful risk management programs will be less siloed, more collaborative and better able to centralize critical data and insights — all of which can keep the costs of breaches down.

IT Risk Management Process: 5 Steps

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  • Identify Risk

    This is the most basic part of the IT risk management process, but it’s also one of the most important. The faster you can identify risk, the sooner you can mitigate it. This involves looking at the larger, industry-wide risk landscape to determine which risks could directly impact your organization. It also involves examining internal processes and procedures to identify potential weaknesses.
  • Forecast Risk Probability

    Once you’ve identified risks, you’ll need to prioritize them based on how likely they are to occur. To forecast each risk’s probability, you’ll have to analyze both how likely the risk is and the impact it might have on your organization.


    • Probability of occurrence
    • Financial, operational and reputational impacts
    • Regulatory consequences, like fines

    This can help you prioritize which risks to address immediately, and which might be less urgent.

  • Use Your Previous Analysis to Prioritize Risks

    When you remediate risks matters, some can wait, but others can become more costly with time. Use your analysis of each risk to rank its priority. Ensure you weigh both its likelihood and business impact; you may still prioritize a specific risk based on its significant business impact.

    Don’t stop with a ranked list, either. Timelines are an essential part of an IT risk management strategy, so ensure you align your priorities with your team’s capacity and have an estimated timeline for mitigating all risks.

  • Take Action

    Cyberattacks happen, no matter how effectively you’ve identified and mitigated risks. In the (even unlikely event) of a breach, the next step is to take action. This requires a documented and centralized IT risk management process that can adapt to different departments and their unique procedures.

    Your documented process becomes the plan of action that will unfold once an attack happens. This should detail the procedures, people, time and resources required to stop the breach in its tracks.

  • Conduct 'Always On' Monitoring

    Organizations are never really beyond risk. They just have yet to encounter their next risk. That’s why the final step in IT risk management is to monitor the program, which requires revisiting all previous actions on an ongoing basis. Organizations should adopt an “always-on” approach to risk that allows them to identify, prioritize and act on new and emerging risks.

    But monitoring isn’t just about the risks. It’s also about reviewing how risk management processes perform in real-time, and making adjustments so the organization remains secure.

Discover Best Practices in IT Risk Management

  • How the cyber regulatory environment has changed and why directors must prioritize cybersecurity oversight
  • A forensic overview of the impact left by major cyber events and trends in recent years
  • The cyber trends boards should expect to see in 2023 and beyond

Registrants will receive a copy of Betsy Atkins’ new white paper, “Bringing the Board Up to Speed on Cybersecurity.”

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