What is Integrated Risk Management?

Businesses’ requirements are rapidly evolving today. The reliance on data and cybersecurity has shifted from a technical focus to a major Board agenda item as a result of the increasing usage of digital technology. Previously, regulatory agencies were the driving factor behind the implementation of cybersecurity guiding principles; now, the CEO and Board of Directors have required them. As we’ve begun to witness the financial effect of cybersecurity and cyber risk management failures, we’ve also begun to see the inadequacy of divided and compartmentalized governance, risk, and compliance. The technology of yesterday is insufficient to support the overall risk management approach that security and business leaders want.


Today, organizations are being bombarded with a slew of new technologies that appeal to nearly every business segment and team within the company. As a result of the vast number of tools available, each corporation’s security and risk teams are confronted with a distinctive set of risk and security threats.


When flexibility and versatility were important, governance, risk, and compliance were not developed or evolved. To tackle the dangers of today’s corporate environment, the information security community requires a stronger answer, which is where the Integrated Risk Management (IRM) solution comes in.


What Is Integrated Risk Management?

Integrated risk management is a set of policies and processes backed by technology that helps organizations make better decisions and gain a better understanding of their security and risk conditions. Integrated risk management recognizes that each company has different risks and threats and, as a result, must manage information security from a risk-centric (rather than a compliance-focused) perspective.


The current information security leaders and their teams’ demands have moved from standard governance, risk, and compliance to integrated risk management. Instead of placing compliance first, integrated risk management allows an organization to manage its own set of risks and, as a result, achieve compliance standards as part of that purpose.

Integrated risk management, according to Gartner, has a defined set of practices:

  1. Strategy – Enabling and implementing a framework and improving performance with effective governance and risk ownership

  2. Assessment – Risk categorization, assessment, and prioritization

  3. Response – Mechanisms for risk mitigation must be identified and implemented

  4. Communication and reporting – The best or most appropriate approach for tracking and informing stakeholders about a company’s risk response

  5. Monitoring – Identification and execution of mechanisms that monitor governance objectives, risk ownership/accountability, adherence to policies and choices established through the governance framework, risks to those objectives, and the success of risk mitigation and controls in a systematic manner

  6. Technology – The structure of an integrated risk management solution (IRMS) or an integrated risk management framework is designed and implemented

Creating a Culture of Risk Awareness

Acknowledging that digitalization and the risks associated with it are enterprise-wide issues is a core principle of a robust integrated risk management approach. Information security executives can alter the corporate culture to one that fosters security best practices and minimize potential risk with the right support and training. When it comes to creating this significant change to integrated risk management, culture changes are gradual, and information security leaders must take the long view.


More Visibility Within the Information Security Organization

The most significant distinction between integrated risk management and governance, risk, and compliance is that integrated risk management reorganizes governance, risk, and compliance components and silos into a single comprehensive cybersecurity and risk management organization. This improved performance achieved through an inclusive process not only improves cybersecurity but also improves business continuity and allows CISOs to connect with the Board and CEO more freely.


Putting Integrated Risk Management Solutions in Place

Teams are typically built around the solutions that their company uses to empower them and transitioning to integrated risk management requires abandoning modular governance, risk, and compliance solutions in favor of integrated risk management solutions. This change not only improves the cybersecurity program’s efficiency, but it also allows for better and faster risk management by considering the overall enterprise risk profile. Increased reporting to the Board and CEO also allows them to incorporate cyber risk into the organization’s overall risk management program.


Using Integrated Risk Management to Take Action

It’s undeniably a journey to establish integrated risk management techniques and processes. In the digital age, however, all firms will be forced to embrace some form of integrated risk management in one way or another. As a consequence, information security teams must evolve and adopt new approaches and frameworks to support this concept and allow their entire organization to contribute to improved cybersecurity.

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