The Fundamentals of an IT Risk System


Today, all businesses face the challenge of protecting customer data. Rather than wait for when a data breach occurs, prepare your team by ensuring you have a sound IT risk system in place.

It doesn’t matter whether your business is a flower shop or Amazon, in today’s world, every business is a technology and data company. Why? Every business has a responsibility to protect its intellectual property, customer information, and other sensitive data. For this reason, IT security is important to every company, regardless of industry.

However, IT security is not easy. Every day, CISOs face the dual challenges of managing threats and ensuring internal procedures are up to speed. These challenges include:

  • Unknown threats
  • Multiple processes
  • Manual processes
  • Data overload
  • Third parties

With such an assortment of challenges, how can CISOs ensure they have a fundamentally sound IT risk program in place?

Below are the four essential pillars for IT risk system success—and why each pillar is essential to an effective IT risk system.


Manual processes—such as spreadsheets, email, and other approaches—make CISOs’ jobs difficult and put companies at a higher risk of data breaches. Rather than deal with a multitude of manual processes, companies must focus their attention on creating a central system that gives IT security managers the ability to monitor all assets, risks, and threats. By creating a central repository of information, all stakeholders in the organization have visibility into all relevant data and can focus their time on the task at hand, rather than trying to clarify and verify information.


I touched on this a bit in the first pillar of centralization, but having a central location for data makes it easier to view the relationships between assets, risks, and threats. This visibility allows CISOs to uncover areas where coverage might be incomplete. Other areas that become easier through visibility include:

  • The ability to visualize the mapped controls applicable to each asset, as well as the risks and threats that they are helping to mitigate. This allows for a more holistic understanding of how each entity works together.
  • Creation and tracking of automated activities becomes cleaner
  • Finding key information for reporting and sharing throughout the business becomes easier, allowing for faster feedback and results.


No matter your title or position in the company, everyone is responsible for IT security. When every individual understands the importance of IT security, a company’s data has a greater chance of remaining safe. This is easier said than done. Oftentimes, the owner of a company’s information security lies in the IT department, placing a significant burden on the team. Companies that take the time to create an organization-wide conception that IT security is a business enabler will have greater success. Provide your employees with ongoing education and training to ensure that each individual knows their responsibilities. In doing so, you’ll help guide a risk culture that becomes one of vigilance in the name of securing greater value and opportunities in the future.


All employees must be held accountable for their actions and responsibilities. Investing in a dynamic IT risk system keeps key personnel on top of their responsibilities. Robust tracking systems built with service level agreements and their due dates give executives the chance to keep track of key performance indicators to access the organization and hold individuals accountable. Managers can also keep tabs on accepted risks and uncover who is responsible when risk scores exceed a certain limit. However, keep in mind that accountability is the final piece of the puzzle—it cannot exist if the other pillars are not in place.

It’s clear that the four pillars of an IT risk program go hand in hand. By handling IT security in one centralized location, the entire organization has the ability to see how the company responds to threats. With this visibility in place, employees know things are being tracked which helps remediations get handled on time. This virtuous cycle will not only protect your company from threats but also unlock opportunities to help drive business.