Managing, aligning information risk in context of the business

Failing to understand the interconnectedness of information security threatens to lay waste to organisations, says Nicky Downing, CEO at Guideline BizTech for RUBiQ Smart GRC Solutions.

Johannesburg, 09 Jul 2019
Read time 5min 30sec

When it comes to my information in the cloud, and what I don’t know about cyber risks, how do I know I really am controlling and securing my information? Asking yourself any of these questions? Then read on, says Nicky Downing, CEO at Guideline BizTech for RUBiQ Smart GRC Solutions.

Business has changed, and that’s an understatement to say the least! Hacking, data breaches, data leakage and information security issues are an ongoing threat in every business, without exception.

There is so much “that we don’t know that we don’t know”, that this lack of understanding of the exposure and magnitude of the risks faced by organisations today is the biggest challenges faced by CIOs and CISOs today. A lot of the problems sit with lack of understanding at executive levels of the business. The sophistication of information security risk has grown so quickly that many senior executives have just been left behind in a whirlwind of terms and circumstance this risk presents to an organisation, that oftentimes it seems easier to just pretend it’s not that bad.

This expanding exposure and complexity reveal a unique challenge for IT and information security accountable persons, in particular. Reactive and manual approaches to managing security risk falls short in adequately dealing with and understanding the complexity and interconnectedness of risk throughout the organisation. IT security and risk run through the whole of the organisation in such a growing digital world where the Internet of things now has the microwave in the break room connected to the Internet. The smallest of vendor relationships may have a network connection that brings exposure to the whole organisation. Security risk management for many organisations has become a proverbial game of Whac-a-mole, where every time risk is stomped out, more risk vaults up needing to be combated. Every business faces the inevitable challenge of its risk profile growing in sync with expanding business complexity and distributed operations and relationships.

Failing to understand the interconnectedness of information security threatens to lay waste to organisations. The augmenting and rampant impact of information risk on a business cannot be understated. Risk exposure, in the chaotic modern business world, is a complex mesh of vulnerabilities that crosses through different departments and functions within the business and its operations. The effect of a seemingly isolated information or technology risk can soon become ubiquitous, having a spiralling effect cascading throughout different departments of the organisation and impacting the organisation's brand, reputation and bottom line. In the modern digital world, information security has become a critical issue facing organisations, and is at the heart of the organisation’s most pressing and serious compliance and risk concerns. Needless to say, it is vital that senior management and top executives have some fundamental, plain English, understandings of the nature of this all-encompassing risk, so that intelligent and informed conversations happen at board level. It is as critical for C-level and board members to understand this risk in the same way they currently understand financial risks.

There is no hope of making wise and intelligent risk decisions that could affect the business and its operations as a whole when information risk is not understood from a business context. Reactionary and isolated approaches fall short in putting information security in the proper context of overall business goals and objectives and is blind to a much larger picture. A good IT and information security system that understands the web of intricacy and the mesh of interconnectedness within information risk enables the organisation to make smart decisions and understand the impact of information risk across the whole of the organisation as it aims to achieve its objectives.

Ensuring your information risk and security control is at a proper level of maturity is paramount in being able to fully monitor and understand the chaotic modern world of business and effectively scrutinise and evaluate risk and compliance across the entire organisation. An immature IT and information security system leaves organisations vulnerable and caught off guard to risk exposure. When organisations approach information risk in isolation and as a quarantined issue, the mesh of interconnectedness amplifies the risk throughout the organisation, leaving a lasting and perhaps fatal effect on the business operations and objectives of the organisation, while the mature organisation will have complete visibility and contextual understanding of information security and technology risk exposure on the business.

Gaining a complete, 360-degree view of information risk management across the entirety of the organisation and its operations and systems is a requirement in developing a good information security system that has the ability to understand the exposure of information risk and the effect it has on business performance and objectives. Managing information risk is successful when risk and compliance matters are dealt with in an assimilated and combined approach aligned with the business that the business understands. IT security and business executives need to work collectively to understand the big picture of information risk. Past paradigms of managing security no longer work as security risk was managed in isolation. The modern organisations require that it has a top-down view of security in context of information and technology risk impact on the business and operations, at all levels of the organisation

Guideline, through the RUBiQ Smart GRC platform, has years of experience in helping organisations increase their maturity in information security and align it with the business.

Click here if you would like to participate in a free comprehensive IT Governance Maturity Assessment. The assessment has been compiled by leading information security, cyber risk and information privacy governance advisory experts. It's quick, it's simple and you will receive an expert and detailed report as an outcome of having done the assessment for your organisation. This series of reports can be confidently used to bring the leadership of your organisation rapidly up to speed on the real exposures faced by your business!

The steps are simple:

Editorial contacts
Guideline BizTech Kelly-Anne Abrahams (+27) 21 446 6420