Maintaining a risk register is a common practice for businesses across all sizes and industries. Risk registers often consist of a spreadsheet or database of risks that an organization leverages to perform risk management or assessment activities. The issue with maintaining risks in these types of environments is that they are not agile or dynamic enough to keep up with the requirements of risk management today.
In this blog, we’ll review five ways to get more out of your risk register, thus, better understanding your business’s risk posture.
Cross-checking and consolidating risk-related data across environments creates extra work and maintenance for an already busy information security team. By maintaining data within a technology solution and leveraging integrations and assessments, businesses can ease the burden of risk assessment operations. Key considerations include:
- Leverage automated risk assessments to ease the burden of questionnaire distribution.
- Shift data input to your businesses first-line defense (e.g., marketing managers, human resources managers) because these individuals are more familiar with the subject matter can help keep information accurate and up-to-date.
- Implement a risk management tool that integrates across your company’s systems and data collection points to centralize your risk register and reporting efforts.
Once you have a centralized source, consider the ongoing maintenance of calculating and reporting risk. Excel and most risk management databases fall flat when it comes to data maintenance. You need a dynamic solution that can associate qualitative values, such as a response to an assessment questionnaire, and assign quantitative risk scores. This not only provides consistency to the information you are collecting but also removes instances of personal bias. Key considerations include:
- Using a dynamic risk repository, you increase your efficiency in collecting risk data inputs as well as boost the validity of the data collected.
- Having data collection points write back to a centralized location helps ensure that the data is maintained correctly, providing the most accurate risk register.
As we alluded to in connectivity, applying automation to your risk register will drastically help streamline operations and limit the time spent manually tracking risks. When evaluating automation capabilities, key considerations include:
- Researching solutions with integrated assessments that can flag and update risk in real-time based on responses.
- Seeking out solutions using automation rules, conditional logic, as well as artificial intelligence to map the scope of your risk exposure and monitor your exposure.
4. Risk Scope
Understanding the complete scope of risk across your business as your risk management program matures and specializes can be a challenge. Without this interconnectivity, even identified risks may fly under your radar and only be evaluated by a siloed perspective. Operational risk factors may have implications in your IT and digital risk programs, and certain risks such a privacy risk if realized can have a cascading impact across your business. When evaluating your risk scope, key considerations include:
- Having a relational database that can support many-to-many relationships between data inventories and risk elements (threats, vulnerabilities, control implementations).
- The ability to catalog and track unique risk elements for specific risk domains such as privacy, operational, or vendor risk.
- Other key attributes you may want to consider is tracking financial impact, and how you quantify this across your business.
Traditional integrated risk management platforms require a massive investment in monetary costs as well as time and human resources. These programs take years to get off the ground and are dependent on a multi-phased implementation process before you can realize the core benefits of the system. But, investing in a tool to manage or centralize your risk register doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Key considerations include:
- There are tools available today where you can start with a focused project, as simple as centralizing your risk register.
- Avoiding clunky customizations with robust, but dated solutions are the simplest way to solve and unify your risk register.
Maintaining a risk register with these five key capabilities will help enable your overall enterprise risk management program. Your risk register provides a centralized inventory and source of truth to measure the businesses overall risk exposure. By connecting sources, focusing security efforts, applying automation, and mapping the scope of your risk – businesses can strengthen their underlying risk register for a best in class risk management program.
Request a demo from our team of GRC professionals to see how you can get more out of your risk register with OneTrust GRC’s IT & Security Risk Management solution.