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Integrated Risk Management

An Integrated Risk Management Approach Needs (And Goes Beyond) IRM Tools


As cybersecurity is elevated to a Board- and CEO-level issue, the role it plays in overall enterprise risk management is becoming more apparent. With that comes a need for an integrated risk management approach for information security teams - changing the way organizations manage cybersecurity and cyber risk. In the past, governance risk and compliance acted as the foundation for cybersecurity teams. Yet, as the acronym suggests a GRC risk management approach left organizations siloed and fragmented. The greater understanding from business-side leaders has incited the need to shift from GRC to integrated risk management (IRM).

How An IRM Approach Changes Cyber Strategy

Understanding that an integrated approach to compliance and risk management is fundamentally different from governance risk and compliance (GRC) is a critical first step to moving forward with IRM. Both the culture as well as the tools that risk and compliance teams employ shifts with IRM to increase visibility and standardize across the organization. Aligning cyber strategy with business outcomes is the first step - as we’ve seen, representing risk metrics in similar forms as other business risks helps put cyber risk in a more applicable context. Further, utilizing outcomes-based frameworks like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as a foundation for an IRM strategy helps continue to put risk and compliance activities into a business context.

IRM Enabling Technology

While delivering metrics and insights to business-side leaders is paramount to overall enterprise success, it makes the technical remediation of identified risks and work that cybersecurity teams do no less important. This is where automation plays a key role in enabling the application of integrated risk management.

Where most pre-existing GRC solutions are modular, the fundamental principle of IRM is a single-pane-of-glass solution that increases visibility and streamlines the assessment and remediation process. Using tools that technologies that improve decision making processes and visibility into cyber posture is critical to IRM success. It is important to note that while GRC solutions have been marketing their customizability, it comes at the expense of time to value. Automation tools that are backed by AI customize themselves with more usage - giving users both rapid time to value as well as the necessary configurability for their organization.

Increasing Risk Aware Culture

Both integrated risk management and GRC tools are, in the end, management tools means to track progress. The second necessary component to an integrated risk management approach is a risk-aware culture across the enterprise. There are multiple ways to tackle this challenge - the main criteria being able to solicit buy-in from senior leadership and using that buy-in to commit to company-wide education. Increases in technology across the enterprise require cross-enterprise education as well. The practices and processes supported under an integrated risk management strategy require an enterprise-wide awareness of cyber risk.

Integrated Risk Management Goes Beyond Tools

Gartner coined the term integrated risk management to benchmark a shift in the market and what organizations need from a risk and compliance solution. There’s more to IRM and a risk-based approach, meaning that tools and solutions are only a part of the equation. Seeing the shift to integrated GRC solutions as well as pure-play IRM, these tools support the overall approach which requires examining the risk management process, risk mitigation activities and a risk-aware culture that enables an organization to grow. Integrating cybersecurity and cyber risk management into the overall risk profile of the organization empowers CISOs and security leaders to contribute to the senior level discussion and help the business achieve objectives, rather than standing in its way. An integrated view of cybersecurity activities and progress is critical to a CISO participating in that discussion, though, and that is why tools like CyberStrong so so important to success with an IRM approach.

Read more about the value of an integrated risk management approach and critical capabilities of an IRM solution in the CyberSaint IRM Solution Buying Guide.



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