Risk management is quickly becoming the foundation for most security and compliance standards. And this is for good reason–complex security threats based on modern technology and the interoperability of extensive cloud-based infrastructure aren’t going to be held at bay through ad hoc implementation of technology.
Risk doesn’t have to be an amorphous and ill-defined process, however. Here, we’ll talk about risk management software and what comes with streamlining risk management as part of your business’s overall strategy.
What Is Risk Management Software?
Risk management software provides companies with tools and controls to manage their cybersecurity risks. These tools are primarily analytical in that they provide insights into an organization’s existing technical and administrative infrastructure against their risk policies.
On the surface, this seems counterintuitive. Unlike more standardized compliance approaches where lists of controls outline the requirements for a company within an industry, the risk is a broad understanding of an organization’s overall approach to security weighed against potential security threats, regulations and business goals.
With that being said, many frameworks don’t provide what would be called a “checklist” of procedures that an organization can follow to meet some requirements. More prominent frameworks like ISO 31000 or the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) provide a series of overarching best practices that, ideally, an organization can implement to align its risk standards against priorities.
Unfortunately, this can prove a challenge for many enterprises.
Risk management software attempts to provide an analytical framework powered by modern analytics and cloud technologies to show security and risk experts how an organization’s systems measure up against its strategies, policies and requirements.
Generally speaking, risk management software will help an organization do the following:
- Record Risks: One of the critical steps in almost every risk management framework is identifying and cataloging potential risks. Software built for this purpose can help companies maintain a database of their risks in a central location where collaboration, accountability and correctness are maintained.
- Risk Analysis: People build policies, and machines can help those people execute those policies. Risk software will allow decision-makers to operationalize their strategies and policies in technology and see the results of those policies.
- Predictive Analytics: Risk can change over time as threats evolve and technology is cycled out of use. A risk platform can immediately integrate these changes into the overall strategic vision of the organization in order to help decision-makers develop new approaches.
It’s critical to note that risk management software in cybersecurity isn’t necessarily like risk assessment in other industries like finance or insurance, where models and long-term analytics inform spending and investment decisions. Rather, the goal here is to provide a quick overview of the overall risk situation that an organization exists in, with some insight into how things (risk, threats, technologies) are changing over time.
What Should You Look For in a Risk Management Solution?
Like any other kind of software, risk management solutions will come with various capabilities and areas of focus. Not all solutions are created equal, and for a good reason–there are several different approaches to risk management driven by other standards, industries and business goals.
Some of the capabilities that you should look for in risk management software include the following:
- Visualization: One of the most significant advantages that many cloud platforms bring to the table is the visualization of data, especially in terms of collective observation and use. Visualization can help cut through a lot of the paperwork and policymaking to provide an overview of the state of a system, either as a representation of risk or as a guide for how risk policies impact an organization.
- Collaboration: Risk management isn’t really worth much without a team of people driving it. Cloud-based risk software should provide the interfaces and accessibility necessary to keep all involved stakeholders plugged into the system’s state.
- Reporting: Reporting is another critical part of risk management, both for internal purposes and for compliance and external accountability. Automated and standardized reporting can streamline instances where reports are required or helpful to involved parties.
- Standardized Roles and Responsibilities: Computers are very good at describing hierarchies and relationships and implementing controls based on those relationships. Real risk management software can make executing role-based access controls (RBAC) much more manageable–which is critical for most compliance and security frameworks.
All of these capabilities will serve as umbrella categories for any specific needs a business faces. For example, developing visual reports for internal meetings (particularly for customizable or framework-specific reports) is incredibly useful for most enterprises. Likewise, comprehensive visualization that can provide a bird’s-eye view of the company’s risk profile provides quick assessments for decision-making.
Can Risk Management Software Help with Non-Technical Risk?
The short answer is yes.
This might seem like the case, but risk related to personnel and administrative policies can be quantified and measured just like any other form. This is excellent news, considering that social engineering attacks are by far some of the most dangerous, prevalent and successful attacks in the wild.
Working with administrative risks like training, education, mitigation of social engineering and hardening access and authentication can seem abstract. But the only reason these seem abstract is that many organizations don’t take the time to solidify their approach to these important aspects of their security.
The bottom line for technical and non-technical risk, and any risk management software that seeks to address them, is that they aren’t Swiss army knives or plug-and-play solutions that make security gaps disappear. Instead, they are tools that plug into well-defined risk assessment policies, security strategies and overall business and operational priorities.
This fact is somewhat “smoothed over” in many technical situations, which can cloud our understanding of how they work. It’s rather easy to say that a security control should meet some standard or another–it’s usually a metric that falls into a continuum of risk and reward, if not a definite “yes” or “no” binary. This makes implementing risk measurement easier.
Working with more comprehensive, people-focused security can have more rough edges. Still, well-defined policies and rigorous internal operation and risk management standards can smooth those edges into an actionable and realizable governance policy.
Is Your Organization Looking for A Way to Streamline Risk Management?
Continuum GRC is proactive cyber security®, and the only FedRAMP Authorized cybersecurity audit platform in the world. Call 1-888-896-6207 to discuss your organization’s cybersecurity needs and find out how we can help your organization protect its systems and ensure compliance.