How Integrated Risk Management Solutions Protect Organizations
Risk awareness, mitigation, and management are all integral parts of strong cybersecurity and business performance in the modern business climate.
To achieve that high level of proficiency in risk management, organizations need a holistic, active approach that supports risk-informed decision-making at every level. This is where integrated risk management comes into play.
The term integrated risk management (IRM), first coined by Gartner in 2017, refers to the set of practices and processes that give your organization a single, consolidated view of risks. This visibility helps to establish a common “risk language” so that executives can understand how various risks interact with each other, and unify risk management practices.
The organization can then improve its security posture, make better decisions, and enhance its performance.
Integrated risk management is often confused with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). GRC has been around for many years, while IRM is a newer paradigm. IRM provides a more effective way to manage business strategy across the whole enterprise, especially in today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape.
This article explores integrated risk management and its benefits. It also compares IRM and GRC, so organizations can understand the differences and make better decisions concerning risk management and risk mitigation.
What Are the Benefits of Integrated Risk Management?
Every modern organization faces operational risks from numerous directions: geopolitical, compliance, digital, cybersecurity, and third party. A robust risk assessment framework helps your business to navigate this risk landscape efficiently and effectively.
When a business adopts an integrated risk management strategy rather than a purely compliance-based strategy, it can create a more realistic and complete picture of the risk landscape. That enhances the company’s risk identification and management capabilities.
Executives can also improve their understanding of risk linkages and dependencies. That is, they can better see how one type of risk (say, operational) might affect cybersecurity, business performance, and stakeholder relationships.
IRM is an enterprise-wide endeavor; it involves both IT and the business. That allows executive leaders to evaluate risks in the broader context of the organization’s objectives and business strategy.
An IRM-driven strategy can also improve risk communication and collaboration, and let senior executives allocate appropriate resources and responses to deal with threats and minimize harm.
Integrated risk management software also plays a vital role in helping to create a risk-aware culture across the organization. Risk managers and business leaders can improve risk awareness and create an ecosystem where risk is interconnected with the business strategy. Better technology allows you to see how risks might affect various parts of the business, so you can then show the business operating teams how they should respond in kind.
Finally, since considerations about strategy and risk are fundamental to IRM, this approach lets leaders evaluate both the opportunities and downsides associated with a strategy.
That more holistic evaluation increases the odds that management will be able to seize opportunities rather than simply be mired in challenges. Here’s another resource to learn more about the benefits of integrated risk management.
GRC Tools and Integrated Risk Management Framework
Governance, risk, and compliance, or GRC, and integrated risk management do address similar areas of cybersecurity. They just take different approaches and differ in scope. IRM is driven by business strategy and objectives, whereas GRC is driven much more by compliance obligations.
GRC solutions are modular and focus primarily on checking off boxes for compliance-related activities. Moreover, GRC teams often operate in independent silos.
That approach might have sufficed in the past, but it’s no longer fit for purpose given the proliferation of digital technology and tools. Those things have created more risks for organizations, which can manifest in more ways. That’s why information security leaders now consider an IRM strategy so vital in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
IRM solutions primarily focus on enterprise risk management to manage cybersecurity risk, including governance and regulatory risks, through actionable insights aligned with business strategies.
Moreover, responsibility for this integrated approach is shared throughout the organization. Unlike GRC, an IRM program has a broader mandate and a broader focus that includes business strategy and specific tactics to identify, manage, and mitigate risks.
Key Capabilities and Attributes of IRM Solutions
Since integration risk management is enterprise-wide and affects the organization’s cybersecurity posture and decision-making, IRM solutions must have several capabilities. These include:
Enterprise Risk Management
The tool must leverage standardized risk assessment methodologies and frameworks to bring consistency to an organization’s assessment, prioritization, management, and control of risks.
It must support the creation of robust compliance policies, assessments, and procedures to build a strong compliance culture.
Business Strategy Support
The framework must support the business strategy and establish effective governance and risk ownership for performance improvement.
Communication and Reporting
Stakeholders should understand, track, and audit the organization’s risk assessment and response through updated metrics, visuals, and reports.
Governance and Risk Monitoring
The IRM solution should enable risk managers to set governance objectives, assign risk ownership/accountability, and track policy compliance.
Third-party Risk Management
The enterprise should be able to monitor, manage, and mitigate third-party risk continuously.
For a more detailed discussion of the various see our post on the elements of an integrated risk management system.
ZenGRC Offers Integrated Risk Management Solutions
Reciprocity’s ZenGRC platform equips organizations and risk managers with a single, centralized tool for integrated risk management. ZenGRC provides greater visibility to reveal information security risks across the business and where risk is changing.
This enables continuous risk monitoring (with real-time updates), more robust risk management, and more active incident management and remediation, so the enterprise can mitigate its business exposure and maintain a strong security profile. To know more about ZenGRC, click here.