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The Basics of Information Security Procedures

The first step to developing an IT risk management policy is to determine the minimum amount of information system risk that is acceptable and sustainable for an organization without affecting performance, growth, profits, and market share. The information risk management policy can then outline processes for risk detection, prevention, and the measurements to indicate security effectiveness.

An information risk management policy should also go on to identify the detailed requirements, guidelines, and practices for recovering a company’s technology and data assets in the face of any system disasters that could occur. This should incorporate safeguards to minimize the impact of incidents on users and business processes.

A comprehensive IT risk management policy will set the governance of how an organization and its employees use and interact with data and technology by:

  • Identifying information security assets
  • Calculating current and potential risks and the costs necessary to mitigate them
  • Assigning a cost to information risks
  • Determining procedures for risk avoidance, risk management, and disaster recovery
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Identifying Information System Assets

IT systems and services are essential in supporting business processes. Information technology assets include:

  • Physical devices — Includes servers, computers, mobile devices, network switches, routers, and all related physical hardware components
  • Data — Includes emails, customer payment information, employee health data and personally identifiable information (PII), business files, software, company website, applications, and more

A company must determine every one of its IT assets and organize them into three levels or tiers:

  • Critical assets that drive essential business processes
  • Semi-critical assets that are used in business, but are not key to daily function and success
  • Non-critical assets that do not play a daily role in business operations
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Calculating Risks and the Cost of Security

Once information system assets have been catalogued, the real and potential threats to each component can be considered. For example:

  • Human error, such as accidental file deletion
  • Malware
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes
  • Security breaches
  • Spam
  • Viruses
  • Risks from internal threats such as disgruntled employees
  • System crashes and overloads

Realistically, no company can operate efficiently if it locks down every component in the IT infrastructure with unreasonable security requirements. Risk calculations can be used to establish an estimated financial cost of safeguarding each IT asset. Implementing safeguard protocols will come with costs.

Prioritizing the most urgent information technology and data security risks will help business leaders make more informed decisions regarding their risk management budget. The cost of security measures should be appropriately measured in relation to the potential financial cost of the vulnerabilities being exposed.

Risk exposure can cost companies dearly. Non-compliance with regulatory data requirements can result in hefty fines and costly litigation. A disruption in business operations can also cause immensely negative financial impact, resulting from lost business, decreased employee productivity, and tarnished reputations with potential customers.


Planning for Risks

Some of the defensive IT security measures a company can consider include:

Business leaders must decide the best way to incorporate these types of information security procedures and how to properly train their staff to comply with the risk management policy guidelines. Very often, organizations turn to managed service providers to help support their IT risk management strategies.

Luckily for MSPs and IT professionals around the world, N-able offers a suite of products designed to address information risk management both proactively and reactively. One key product that MSPs can rely on in developing a truly effective information risk management policy is N-able MSP Risk Intelligence.

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The Data You Need from MSP Risk Intelligence

MSPs that lead their clients through the rigorous process of developing information risk management policies recognize the importance of setting those procedures in place as soon as possible. MSP Risk Intelligence allows you to share your sense of urgency with clients by viewing the sensitivity of data in financial bottom-line terms. Seeing vulnerabilities in terms of dollars and cents will help you build a strong business case for protecting critical data assets and triaging the most important risks.

In addition to dollar-based risk assessment, MSP Risk intelligence supports the following powerful features to help formulate best practices for your client’s risk management policies:

  • In-depth visibility into the locations where sensitive data resides within the organization, across entire networks, devices, and workstations
  • Proactive risk identification along with actionable steps for mitigating threats
  • Deep vulnerability scans that patch network holes used to exploit systems and breach data
  • Ensure that sensitive data is made available to appropriate individuals only with encryption keys, permissions discovery, and alerts
  • Comprehensive log management and risk-intelligence reports for threats, regulatory compliances, and audits
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The Information Risk Management Tools You Need

MSPs can rely on MSP Risk Intelligence for the data they need to help their clients craft the information risk management policy that best suits their needs. Additional risk trending reports and PCI compliance scans can also help IT professionals make the case for necessary security and data backup tools such as MSP RMM and MSP Backup & Recovery.

MSPs equipped with the appropriate risk management tools are poised to deliver industry-leading solutions that can make their client’s IT infrastructure stronger and better positioned to weather current and emerging threats. And MSP Risk Intelligence provides MSPs with the ability to understand their client’s risk management postures without requiring onsite visits.

Using this kind of intelligence allows MSPs to assess their client’s vulnerabilities frequently, automate certain security measures and focus efforts on threats that are both critical and have serious security issues.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to Write an IT Risk Management Policy?

How to Write an IT Risk Management Policy?

The main goal of IT risk management is to protect the confidentiality and availability of an organization’s data and minimize risks associated with a security breach. Prior to creating or reevaluating an IT risk management policy, an organization should weigh identified risks and analyze changes in existing policies, laws, and regulations involving information technology.

The following steps can help ensure an organization develops an IT risk management policy that is effective, appropriate and up-to-date.

1. Catalog IT assets

IT assets include computers, routers, servers, software, data, emails, networks, and files.

2. Determine the type of threats that each asset could potentially face

Threats can include hackers, user errors, viruses, system crashes, and natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

3. Estimate the cost of managing these threats

When estimating costs, include anything that could negatively affect the organization’s reputation or cause an interruption in commerce or operations.

4. Implement risk controls

Risk controls are precautions an organization takes to reduce the likelihood that one of the determined risks will actually happen. Examples of risk controls include web blocking, high-grade encryption, routine backups, and a business continuity plan.

5. Educate users of risk controls and policies

Once risk controls are implemented, management should educate the staff on any policy changes and explain how the newly implemented risk controls will help mitigate IT risks.

6. Track IT risk controls and monitor risks

IT risk management policies should be revisited annually to ensure policies are still relevant.

Remember: risk management is a continuous process that can influence practices and decisions made throughout the organization.

3 Elements of Information Risk

3 Elements of Information Risk

Information risk management involves performing an honest and thorough assessment of your clients’ stored data. What kind of risks are threatening it? What is making it vulnerable to those risks? And what would happen if that data was compromised?

Somewhat ironically, the number-one threat to a company’s IT is humans. And not all of those data compromises are conducted by hackers. Over a third of all the data security breaches that happen at government agencies are accidents, the fault of an internal employee acting carelessly.

And that’s to say nothing of viruses and other forms of malware, which pose an ongoing threat to all forms of IT.

The vulnerabilities of a company exist in the loads of sensitive data that is stored, accessed, modified, transferred, and then stored again in different places by different people. This information often includes names, social security numbers, and other personal data. It can also include financial information such as credit card and bank account numbers.

Identity theft occurs once every two seconds in the United States. Financial data records are lost or stolen at a clip of 32 per second. Either of these consequences can be crippling to a business or individual.

Performing Risk Management: with an emphasis on data security, N-able software has become a preferred choice for managed service providers and IT professionals looking to monitor, minimize, and manage risks associated with their protected information.

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