Integrated IT Risk Management

Integrated IT Risk Management

In today’s increasingly digitized, remote-savvy business world, effectively identifying and managing IT risk has never been more crucial for protecting and achieving organizational objectives. Yet, there is a wide gulf between businesses with advanced, continuous IT risk monitoring programs and those that struggle to effectively assess and manage their key IT risks. While two-thirds of respondents in AuditBoard’s 2021 IT Risk Survey apply a continuous, proactive approach to IT risk management, nearly 30% of respondents take an ad-hoc, reactive approach to managing IT risk.

Source: AuditBoard, 2021 IT Risk Management Survey

How to Achieve Integrated IT Risk Management

Though reaching a state of continuous risk monitoring may seem daunting, it is important to start where you are and make incremental changes. One of the best places to begin is by applying an integrated approach to IT governance, risk, and compliance. Time and again, studies have shown that a siloed approach to managing IT risks results in reactive, inefficient, and costly risk management efforts.

AuditBoard’s latest report, 3 Fundamentals of Integrated IT Risk Management, examines results from the 2021 IT Risk Survey and discusses the following three fundamental concepts of an integrated IT risk management approach:

1. Treat the risk assessment as more than a checkbox exercise.

The IT risk assessment is the first step as well as the cornerstone of a continuous IT risk monitoring program. Yet, AuditBoard’s 2021 IT Risk Management Survey reveals that it is one of the most underdeveloped areas of IT risk programs, second only to data management and reconciliation. In addition, over 28% of respondents said the risk assessment is treated as a checkbox exercise, typically performed only once per year.

Source: AuditBoard, 2021 IT Risk Management Survey

Performing frequent risk assessments on a quarterly, or even monthly, basis contributes to an IT risk register that more accurately reflects the organization’s key risks as the IT risk landscape evolves in response to internal and external events. 

2. Build agile and continuous processes into your foundation.

An agile approach focuses on delivering value by achieving results more efficiently, ensuring better stakeholder communication and collaboration, and enabling risk leaders to pivot more quickly. One of the best places to begin is by unifying risk data into a centralized system of record, ideally, a cloud-based system that can integrate with other departments’ data (e.g. internal audit, IT audit, information security, compliance, etc). In addition to the efficiencies gained by centralizing your data into a single source of truth, another benefit is the implementation process itself is an opportunity to formalize and standardize your risk taxonomy and risk scoring system.

3. Formally align efforts across risk groups.

The majority of survey respondents stated that “poor coordination between the three lines” is the biggest challenge to maturing their IT risk program. Formally aligning efforts through developing an IT risk management charter and creating a universal risk taxonomy and risk scoring system are the best ways to begin formally aligning efforts across the three lines. 

Source: AuditBoard, 2021 IT Risk Management Survey

To learn more about these three fundamentals as well as best practices for embedding agile and continuous processes into your IT risk program, download your free copy of the report