Risk & Strategy
Jessica Donohue Image
Jessica Donohue
Senior Specialist

7 IT risk management best practices

November 30, 2022
0 min read
Business leader contemplating IT risk management best practices

When it comes to IT risk management, there’s a lot to lose: organizations with fully-deployed automation spend an average of $3.58 million less per data breach than those without security automation. An effective IT risk management solution is an excellent first line of defense, but only with equally strong IT risk management best practices.

While digital operations are inherent in most employees’ day-to-day, adopting risk management techniques isn’t always so seamless. To safeguard sensitive data, organizations need new and better ways to protect communication between employees, clients and customers.

Organizations can work towards total compliance and enhanced security with the following IT risk management best practices.

Best practices for IT risk management

1. Understand the risk landscape

In the 2022 Deloitte Global Risk Management study, managing third-party resilience was identified as a key concern with 60% of respondents believing that resilience and contingency planning are a strength. Understanding the risk landscape is one of the most important things organizations can do to protect themselves.

This includes auditing the broader risk landscape and the organization’s internal systems and software to identify risks that could become threats. Then, they need to develop a framework that informs what action they’ll take should any of those threats come to fruition, including relevant key risk indicators.

Once these plans are in place, employees must follow all cybersecurity processes and procedures. Adhering to risk management policies is essential to protecting the system over time.

2. Manage risk at scale

Many organizations struggle with data silos, which challenge the IT risk management process and make it difficult for that process to scale.

Scalability matters because the risk management program needs to evolve with the organization’s needs. This requires centralizing data and breaking down silos so that all departments are pulling from the same protocols, no matter how goals and processes differ from department to department.

3. Drive stakeholder engagement

Risk management processes don’t work if the only ones following them are risk and compliance teams. Organizations need their clients, managers, stakeholders or shareholders, third-party partners, etc., to buy into their risk management program.

Each of these stakeholders brings something to the organization. While this has value, it can also introduce different kinds of risk. Ensure all stakeholders understand and support risk management processes so they can take action, too. They can also play an essential role in the review process if organizations solicit feedback on better processes.

4. Create a culture of compliance

According to a recent report, 30% of employees don’t feel they play a role in maintaining their organization's cybersecurity. 42% of employees also said they wouldn’t know if they caused an incident, while another 25% said they didn’t care enough about cybersecurity to say something if they did.

This is proof that no matter how breach-proof an organization’s risk management program is, a culture of compliance can make all the difference between a secure system and a system that’s not. A strong risk culture educates employees about why risks matter, enables them to follow all processes and procedures and empowers them to report risks when they arise.

5. Evaluate and monitor risks

Risks happen, even after an organization has thoroughly audited its risk landscape. What’s important is that they aren’t caught unawares. Start by evaluating risk anytime something changes, whether setting up a new employee computer or onboarding new technology. Don’t stop there.

Adopt an always-on approach to monitoring risks to stay on top of it if something changes. This ensures that organizations know about threats as they evolve and take the necessary steps to prevent them from harming the organization.

6. Effectively report risks

Outside of risk and compliance teams, executive leaders and boards especially need real-time data to make more informed decisions. Making sound decisions requires gathering data on all risks and threats across the organization and distilling that information into an actionable report.

Effective IT risk management platforms will have a solution for this. Still, even without risk management technology, teams should communicate with each other early and often, ensuring everyone has the latest risk data.

7. Document the approach

Risk management policies should be well documented in a format accessible across the organization. Documentation is vital for three reasons:

  • Ensures that there’s a plan in place for any unexpected risks
  • Makes it easier for all teams to follow approved procedures
  • Helps build a business case for the program

Documentation should include risk assessments, strategies for mitigating those risks and roles and responsibilities for all employees who will need to take action should a threat arise.

Strengthen your IT risk management with technology

54% of organizations say their IT departments aren’t sophisticated enough to handle advanced attacks. Yet cyber attacks are on the rise, and tactics are ever-evolving. IT risk management solutions can help you stay ahead.

IT risk management solutions offer an intelligent, end-to-end approach to risk management that swiftly identifies and mitigates risks as they arise. It does this by breaking down silos, centralizing data, automating key workflows and creating greater visibility into the risk management program.

Find out how IT Risk Management from Diligent accomplishes these tasks and more or read our buyer's guide to learn what to look for in IT risk management software.


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