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What is IT Risk Management?

IT risk management is the collective steps, services, and technology used by an organization to reduce cyber threats and vulnerabilities. 

IT risk management is a critical aspect of a larger IT management framework. 

IT risk management typically includes a variety of actions and considerations including (but not limited to):

  1. Identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing points of vulnerability 
  2. Analyzing and agreeing on risk tolerance  
  3. Establishing procedures to reduce, negate, or address risk
  4. Deploying technology to mitigate risk and support procedures 
  5. Establishing continuity plans for emergency scenarios and data breaches 

Organizations of every size should undergo some level of IT risk management to ensure their sensitive data is protected and they have processes in place for unforeseen events of failed security. 

What is IT Risk? 

IT risk is like a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get”. 

In all seriousness, IT risk is a term to describe the many dangers an organization experiences by purposeful and/or unpurposeful cyber threats. 

That’s what makes IT risk management so integral to an organization—it’s difficult to manage risk if you don’t know what to look for. IT risk can be something as simple as a former employee still having access to accounts they weren’t offboarded from properly, to something as malicious as hackers looking to gain access to an organization’s data. 

IT risk increases as organizations grow and their tech stacks become more complex, which requires IT leaders to consistently audit IT risk management for the sake of their security.   

Stakeholders involved in IT risk management will work to reduce the amount of IT risk throughout their organization’s technical infrastructure and environment. They’ll do so with consideration of their “risk tolerance,” which is the level of IT risk they are willing to enable through use of certain applications, the allowance of certain processes, and the visibility into data usage at their organization. 

Why Perform an IT Risk Assessment? 

An IT risk assessment is necessary for an organization to understand the current amount of vulnerability they’re currently undertaking. 

IT risk assessments can include: 

  • monitoring current security processes
  • understanding the full landscape of applications in use at an organization
  • examining the manner in which information is stored, sent, and utilized. 

Once a proper understanding of IT risk is understood, IT professionals are able to act on their findings, secure vulnerabilities, and create processes to negate future risk. 

What are IT-Related Risks?  

IT-related risks, or IT risks, are software and hardware vulnerabilities that could lead to information breaches or workflow mishaps. IT-related risks could include security vulnerabilities, human error, and more. 

IT-related risks are assumed by all organizations, with their volume altered by the processes put in place by IT, software utilized, and the visibility IT teams have into technology usage at their organization. 

One key risk not commonly considered when examining IT-related risk is Shadow IT. Shadow IT is the use of unsanctioned applications out of the purview of IT. The use of these applications can lead to consistent security vulnerability, especially en-mass due to the decentralized nature of SaaS applications. Click here to learn more about Shadow IT.

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