3 risk management priorities CIOs are focused on right now

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CIOs have had their hands full since the start of the pandemic with three risk management and governance priorities weighing heavily on their minds.

Symbol for reducing a risk. Cubes form the word

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With many employees working remotely, a digital transformation taking place at an accelerated pace and cybersecurity issues on the rise, spending on information security and risk management technology and services is expected to exceed $150 million in 2021. 

CIOs are becoming more sharply focused on information security and risk management since the pandemic. Findings show CIOs want and need access to more reliable risk-related data; they want to identify emerging risks better and align risk-related priorities with business strategy. 

SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

1. Accessing more reliable risk-related data

Having a centralized source to gather data quickly provides the foundation for fast and effective decision-making, yet, it’s estimated that only 50% of companies actually access data for this purpose. It also helps to increase efficiency by reducing manual workarounds with multiple teams pooling information for different sources. This is especially vital in areas relating to potential operational gaps and risk and compliance. Moving too slowly or not having a complete picture can be catastrophic and create its risk point. Some sectors such as banking, insurance and health care are all too familiar with the need for reliable risk-related data to increase accountability and mitigate risks that can be costly. 

2. Identifying emerging risks faster

One unfortunate byproduct of the pandemic is the increase in emerging threats and risks, and no company is immune. While fraudulent activities and data breaches aren’t new, how perpetrators go about taking advantage of change is always one step ahead of company security protocols. CIOs are all too familiar with this, particularly in some sectors such as health care, finance and insurance, where protocols and privacy policies are very stringent. CIO’s are being challenged to take a closer look at how to protect their customers and employees from not only malicious outside activities but also from themselves. But these aren’t the only risk management priorities for CIOs; when it comes to addressing risk and compliance around technology adoption, there are others on their minds, including these. 

  • Accelerated cloud migration and the need to secure their remote work infrastructures.
  • The increased demand for DevSecOps to migrate critical enterprise workloads to cloud platforms.
  • Artificial Intelligence solutions and leveraging the cloud. 
  • A standard framework for AI governance to ensure privacy.

3. Aligning new risk management priorities with business strategy

There’s no doubt in any CIOs mind that business strategies and risk management strategies must adapt to the changing landscape created by recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things. Economies are rapidly evolving, and CIOs are focused on identifying how changes impact their strategies and looking for better ways to plan their new tech strategy while simultaneously increasing stakeholder value. The key lies in shifting risk management priorities to align with the short- and long-term business strategies. 

SEE: Forrester projects strong growth for US tech budgets (TechRepublic) 

Volatility and uncertainty have become the norm with all of the changes to how IT teams work and support other business areas. CIOs are sharpening their focus on ensuring their teams have real-time data to identify emerging risks and to make faster decisions. It’s only in doing so and aligning IT risk management with the overall business strategy that their teams are better equipped to rise to challenges in a constantly changing environment. 

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