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Three components of an effective Security Risk Management program

Implementing or changing an information security risk management program is not easy. But, if you have a structured approach to do it, chances are high you can make positive changes.

To build an effective information security risk management program, start with these three core components.

  1. Define information security risk management principles.

  2. Build and implement an information security risk management framework.

  3. Design and implement information security risk management process.

Information security risk management principles

Information security risk management principles should explain why an organization implements the program and how it will work. You don't need to have a separate document with the principles, but incorporating them into the information security risk management policy is the right approach, so each reader understands it.

There are core principles applicable to any organization, but others should be based on the organization's values and culture. In addition to the core principles, leadership should define other principles based on their vision and expectations.

Below we provide some examples of principles to start a discussion with the leadership team:

  • information security risk management protects the organization's value. 

  • it is integrated into all organization's processes.

  • it is part of the decision-making process.

  • it is based on the best available information. 

  • it is aligned with the internal and external risk profile.

Information security risk management framework

Once the principles are defined, the next step is setting up the information security risk management framework. It provides the foundation and guides to roll out the program throughout the organization. The success of the program depends on the effectiveness of the management framework.

Implementing a management program requires a continuous and robust leadership commitment. Leadership plays a crucial role in:

  • Defining information risk management policy;

  • Aligning organization's culture and information security risk management policy;

  • Aligning information risk management and the organization's strategic objectives.

  • Ensuring legal and regulatory requirements are incorporated;

  • Assigning accountabilities and responsibilities and communication;

  • Allocating necessary resources and monitoring its continuous improvement.

After leadership commitment is obtained, you will start designing and implementing the framework. Understanding the organization and leadership needs and expectations during the framework development is crucial as those have a significant impact. The framework includes the information security risk management policy that describes leaders' and applicable parties' accountability, integration of the information security risk management process into organizational processes, resources to establish and maintain the program, and communication channels. 

The framework should include monitoring and continuous improvement processes to identify the changes to maintain the framework effectively. It should define indicators for performance measurement and when to measure. Lastly, it defines the team designated by the leadership and requirements for reporting the measurement results.

Information risk management framework process cycle

The next part describes designing and implementing the security risk management process.

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