As ever more business operations rely on software systems and online platforms, the range of cybersecurity risks they face become ever more complex. A strong risk management process can help, enabling organizations to detect potential threats, gauge the potential disruption, and implement mitigation plans to minimize the risk of harm.

That said, merely implementing a risk management plan is not enough to ensure optimal cybersecurity. It’s equally important to revisit the plan regularly, to identify any new risks and ensure that the existing risk mitigation measures are still effective.

This is known as risk monitoring, and it’s an essential aspect of risk management that involves ongoing observation, evaluation, and reporting of potential risks and their impact on the organization.

In this article we’ll discuss the key steps for monitoring cyber risk and provide insights on how businesses can prevent potential issues from arising.

How to Monitor and Review Risk Assessments

To monitor and review risk assessments, your organization’s risk managers should develop a risk register that includes details such as the level of urgency, response priority, and response plans for each risk. Categorize each risk under specific headings, such as operational, budget, or information security risks; then assign likelihood levels to prioritize specific risks. Identify a risk owner responsible for managing each risk to ensure ongoing monitoring.

Your risk managers should use that risk register often; refer to it when launching new projects so the team can be aware of identified risks and monitor new threats. Review the risk register at regular intervals (annually, for example) and update it as necessary. This helps you to identify new threats and to detect changing patterns in existing risks, which allows for a more active approach to risk management.

To adapt to emerging risks and changing circumstances, consider the effectiveness of your risk management strategies and adjust them as necessary. This may involve implementing new controls or procedures, investing in risk mitigation tools, or seeking out additional resources.

To improve risk management practices, involve stakeholders at all levels in the process to ensure everyone understands the importance of risk management and feels empowered to identify and report potential risks.

Key Steps for Monitoring Risk

After establishing a risk register, you can begin the monitoring process. To ensure a smooth and effective monitoring process, consider the following steps:

  • Monitor risk response plans
  • Identify trigger conditions
  • Analyze periodically to detect new risks
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the risk management plan

Monitor your risk response plans

Each risk should have its own response plan and risk owner. The risk owner is responsible for implementing the response plan for each incident and for reporting to the company risk manager. Each scenario or incident will require its own careful review to determine whether a new contingency plan should be implemented.

Identify trigger conditions

Trigger conditions are specific events or circumstances that indicate that a risk is likely to occur. Identifying trigger conditions is an essential step in effective risk management because it allows risk managers to take early action to prevent or mitigate the harm of potential risks.

Once trigger conditions are identified, the risk manager should include them in the risk response plan and assure that appropriate measures are in place to address them. Regular monitoring and communication with project stakeholders can help identify new trigger conditions and keep risk response plans updated accordingly.

Analyze periodically to detect new risks

Risks evolve over time, so at regular intervals (say, annually or semi-annually) you should reassess the risks you’ve already identified to see how they’ve changed. This step also helps you to identify any new risks that may have emerged, assess the effectiveness of your mitigation strategies, and adjust as necessary.

In addition to reviewing your risks, gather feedback from project teams and stakeholders to identify any potential risks that may have been missed. This feedback can help you to better understand the unique risks associated with each project and make adjustments to your risk management plan accordingly.

Once you’ve identified new risks, assess their potential impact on your business operations. You can do this by estimating the likelihood and severity of each new risk and prioritizing them based on their potential impact. This will help you to focus your resources on mitigating the most significant risks first.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your risk management plan

To ensure effective risk management, organizations must take a holistic view of their risk monitoring process. To evaluate the effectiveness of your risk management plan, start by reviewing your risk identification process. Are you able to identify all potential risks? Have you missed any risks that could impact your business operations? Consider using historical data or industry benchmarks to help you identify any gaps in your risk identification process.

Next, assess your risk mitigation strategies. Are they effective in reducing the impact of identified risks? Are they being implemented consistently across all projects? Identify any gaps in your mitigation strategies and make adjustments as necessary.

And don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your risk management plan by analyzing your risk monitoring process. Are you able to detect risks in real-time? Are you gathering feedback from project teams to improve the risk monitoring process? Use metrics such as the frequency and severity of risks to evaluate the effectiveness of your risk management plan and make necessary adjustments.

ZenGRC Helps Your Business Avoid Upcoming Issues

ZenGRC is a software solution that empowers organizations to make strategic, risk-informed decisions. With its ability to monitor IT and cyber risks, automate compliance, and communicate the impact on top priorities, the ZenGRC gives users a comprehensive understanding of their risk exposure.

The software’s real-time risk monitoring also enables users to stay ahead of potential threats and make proactive decisions to mitigate risk.

Schedule a FREE demo now to see ZenGRC in action.