How to Get IT, Security, and the Business on the Same Risk Page

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Just how much risk is leadership willing to take in a particular area? How high is the bar? The board is required to set risk appetites, which senior management translates into thresholds, which in turn are mapped to policies that govern the behavior of people, processes and systems. Once established, policies, controls and reporting can be calibrated to feed the right indicators that allow management to make decisions to avoid, treat or transfer risk efficiently and effectively. But this starts at the top; key stakeholders must define their risk appetite and executives must agree. Everything depends on the right formulation of thresholds, policies and controls and, ultimately, what is viewed and expressed as a risk. Without a good formulation of risk appetite, it is simply impossible for the organization to effectively manage their risk.

IT, security and the business have important shared objectives: 1) raise stakeholder value, 2) drive performance improvements, 3) ensure compliance across activities and operations, and 4) protect the organization, its assets and its people.       

We’ve seen breath-taking and awe-inducing changes over the last few years – the rise of a digital universe that is global, social, mobile and interconnected; the double-edged sword of innovation and rising risk profiles; the flight of business to the cloud; and IT/OT transforming to the orchestrator model. New technologies bring new risks, and it is becoming clear that there are growing disconnects between IT, security and the business on what this really means.

In the midst of all of this change, leadership, senior management and employees alike feel extreme pressure from customers, regulators and suppliers, all of whom demand explanations as to how their risks are being identified, managed and controlled. This can be a real challenge in the midst of increased threats, regulatory complexity and pressures to demonstrate control over material risks. In order to both support the strategic objectives of our organization, and just plain do our job in keeping critical processes running and sensitive assets protected, we need to build a common language and discussion framework to understand risk appetites and scenarios, and also identify and discuss risks in a context that the board and business can understand and use in decision making.

Here are five fundamental questions, identified by Yo Delmar, vice president of GRC solutions at MetricStream, a provider of governance, (IT) risk and compliance (GRC) solutions, that we need to answer in order to get IT, security and the business on the same page with a 360-degree view of risk. Working with siloed views of risk is not an option anymore – the stakes are just too high for us to continue forward with the status quo.

 

Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

 
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