Tips for Building an IT Risk Management Strategy

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For any modern business, having a cyber risk management plan in place is essential. This includes small businesses. Risk management plans and strategies can help reduce the impact of potential threats or issues that might occur and can outline the steps you need to follow to be proactive in certain situations.

IT Risk Management Strategy

A risk management plan can have certain details that will outline how you’ll keep your business secure in terms of cyber assets and networking. For example, you might use IP address management or IPAM solutions to detect threats as soon as possible. A risk management plan can also include general steps that everyone in the organization will follow if a breach does occur.

The following are tips small businesses can use to develop an IT risk management strategy that will work for them.

Understand Why Risk Management Is Important

Risk management is important not only with regard to IT and cybersecurity but every aspect of your business.

When you have risk management plans in place, it allows you to anticipate what would ordinarily be potentially unexpected and very damaging events. It also lets you increase the sense of confidence your employees and key stakeholders feel toward your business.
A good risk management strategy doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be present.

Define Your Risks

Before you can create a tailored risk management strategy, whether it relates to cybersecurity and IT assets or another part of your business, you need to have a clear idea of what the risks are.

To get a full idea of what your potential risks are as they relate to cybersecurity and IT, bring together the key stakeholders who can all provide input. You might want to work with people across departments to do this if your business is on the larger side.

Along with defining risks, you should take into account how damaging each risk could be, which is risk analysis.

The third part of this initial step requires that you identify potential triggers for the risks you define. As well as triggers, this can include warning sides for each of the potential risks.

The more people you bring into this part of the process, the more easily you’ll be able to have a full picture of the IT and cybersecurity risks your business faces.

Follow a Set Framework?

When you’re a fairly small business, knowing where to begin with cybersecurity risk management can feel overwhelming. You may not even fully understand what cybersecurity risks and threats exist, but that’s not an excuse for not doing anything.

It’s better to have something in place rather than nothing, and then you can build on it as you go.

There are also cybersecurity frameworks you can follow, the most used of which is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

This framework includes the following:

  • Identify: During this step, you’re doing much of what was mentioned above. You’re trying to understand what your risks are within the framework of your industry and your business. You’re also prioritizing the steps that you’ll take to protect against threats.
  • Protect: This is the step where you start putting security controls in place, such as access control and also where you make staff aware and train them on protective measures.
  • Detection: Detection relates to things like IP address management and other methods you put in place to proactively identify threats.
  • Respond: What techniques will you use to respond to a cybersecurity issue? How will you minimize the impact if something does occur? How will you communicate what’s going on?
  • Recover: Your risk management strategy should also integrate ways that you’ll recover from the effects of an incident if one occurs. How will you get things back on track and back to normal as quickly as possible? How will you then use the incident as a way to make improvements to your policies or technology?

Risk Resolution

Finally, only when you have a clear idea of what your risks are, how high-level the risks are, and what can trigger these risks can you start mapping out how you will resolve them.

When you’re integrating risk resolution strategies into your plan, you should identify the stakeholders who will be responsible for heading up different areas of resolution.

This is touched on briefly in the outline of the above framework, and it’s important to focus on as you’re developing your strategy, regardless of the particulars of your framework.

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