IT Risk Management

Marc Othersen

IT risk management is a nebulous topic at best. There are many different ideas as to what risk means and how it should to be applied within an IT organization. In an effort to bring some consistency and clarity to this discipline, Forrester is developing an IT risk management framework. Once developed, the framework will help IT organizations identify major risk areas, identify scenarios linking risks and controls, and establish a common risk language to clearly communicate with business leaders.

In order for the framework to have a solid risk-based foundation we will be using many of the principles of COSO. In particular, the framework will be based on event identification, risk assessment, risk response, and control activities. The IT context is established by utilizing the ITIL framework for IT service delivery. IT services are used to identify risk events. Scenarios are developed for each identified risk outlining the actions necessary to realize the risk. Controls are then mapped to each scenario to either prevent or detect the actions.

Since COSO and ITIL will be used to develop the framework, a common industry-agnostic set of key risk indicators can be established and bring some consistency and clarity to IT risk management.