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By: Rachael Rubin on July 6th, 2020

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How to Evaluate Your Business’s IT Risk Management

Managed IT Services | IT Support Chicago | Business IT

It’s easy to understand personal risk management like avoiding unhealthy eating or drinking habits if you know you are predisposed to having heart disease. Understanding risk management for your business is a little more complicated. 

Risk management can be broadly defined as investigating and identifying potential risks to your business's infrastructure. By doing so you’re able to generate procedures that reduce the damage posed by these risks. Such risks pose a direct impact on the organization’s reputation, credibility, and financial stability.

Risk management as it pertains to IT is having safeguards in place to reduce and mitigate potential technological risks. For over a decade, Framework IT has been evaluating the IT environments of businesses to evaluate risk. A proper risk management evaluation requires an assessment of the controls and access to all systems such as applications, data, response systems and policies.

A common theme that we see nowadays is many organization’s critical processes and data are all digital, and therefore more openly exposed to cybersecurity-related risks. We hope that this blog will give you some valuable insight into the importance of proper risk management.

 

Benefits of Implementing an IT Risk Management Plan

You’re never going to be 100% safe of risk or harm, but by implementing a proper plan you are able to build a structure to get you thinking through a process or plan. 

You will also be rewarded financially for having a proper plan. For example, if an individual chooses to invest in a private insurance plan, they would be rewarded with a lower premium if they are a non-smoker. This is the same as with risk management plans.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, "A business that is indifferent to lose control may have a higher than the average number of insurance claims. A really poor loss history can make it difficult to find insurance. Conversely, businesses that actively manage risks, and thereby control losses, will have fewer claims and will often see those efforts rewarded with lower insurance premiums."

An efficient plan affords you the ability to respond to incidents quickly and more effectively, therefore reducing cost and risk exposure. IT risk management will not only provide a positive financial gain but peace of mind in knowing you are being proactive versus reactive. 

 

Where is My Business at Risk? 

According to a Ropes & Gray study, 69% of executives are not confident that their current risk management policies and practices will be enough to meet future needs; and unfortunately, your organization’s IT is becoming one of the highest risk areas.

Many of those areas of risk are revolve around personal risk and data, how that data is used, who and to where it gets disseminate, and finally - who is trying to get to that data. These risks are very likely to come through at an individual level via phishing attempts from email or other similar insider threats. Attackers are counting on your employee negligence in the area of risk management. 

 

5 Steps to IT Risk Management 

There are five steps when assessing any area of risk management: Identify, analyze, evaluate, treat, and monitor. Together, these steps combine to deliver a manageable and effective risk management process to protect your IT environment.

 

      1. Identify Risks – To begin, one needs to broadly understand their technology landscape at as a whole. This can be achieved by examining previous incidents or known threats to see if there had been any breaches in the system previously.

This will give you an understanding of all the different parts that go into that and the services that they provide the organization. Risk management should be pervasive across an organization’s network infrastructure, applications, cloud services, etc.

      2. Analyze Risks – This step involves examining the likelihood of threat occurrence and impact. You use the understanding of what the different IT elements do for the business and back it up against the larger threat landscape.

During this phase, you may consider implementing overarching security expertise. Outside vendors such as MSPs or even SaaS programs will add an extra set of eyes that provide an extra level of security. 

      3. Evaluate Risks – There are many systems that you can compare your IT practices with. Framework has a specific stack of best practices that will evaluate where your tech environment should be. This modular environment includes:

  • Patching and keeping all devices up to date with ample power.
  • Framework suggests using Cisco Meraki and Ubiqiti Networks with cloud management.
  • Clients should be running the cloud networks Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite.
  • Backing everything including your CRM, ERP, and CHR to the cloud.
  • Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure as your server infrastructure.
  • Using carrier-grade fiber with diverse backup solutions.

If you are living within these best practices, you can maintain power over your systems. For any elements living outside our best practices, we rank the ones that leave you most exposed first. 

  1. Treat Risks – Treating the risk means that you limit the impact of the risk so that if it does occur, the problems created are more manageable. If you can mitigate against the result you can decrease the possibility of it occurring.
  2. Monitor Risks – When using cybersecurity tools, such as log and incident monitoring, you can often shut threats down as they are happening. 

Robust security monitoring systems, strong oversight capabilities, and governance over risk management will provide the ultimate monitoring operation.

By making sure your environment is modular and as up to date as possible, you reduce your overall vulnerability.

 

How Can I Reduce Risk Impact?

Reducing risks begins by identifying them as quickly as you can, isolating them, and mitigating them in a timely fashion. The main goal is to isolate network elements so that if any individual component gets compromised, you can quarantine it off and protect your larger organization as a whole.

Even with all of the information in hand, we realize this is still a monumental responsibility. If you don't have a cybersecurity expert on your team, we strongly recommend expert help.

You may also want to investigate a managed security services provider like Framework IT to help you manage this ongoing task. The Framework team is passionate about the best practices that are going to help keep your important IT landscape safe from harm.