MetricStream, the independent market leader in governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) apps and solutions, announced the findings of its latest survey, Moving Up the IT Risk Management Maturity Curve: An In-Depth Look at How Enterprises Are Managing and Mitigating Their IT Risks. The survey covered 139 respondents from 120+ enterprises and 20 industries across more than six geographic regions to examine the maturity of IT risk management programs, methods used to assess IT risks, impact of IT regulations, and the role of technology in managing IT risks.
The respondents reported that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have the biggest potential to disrupt IT risk management programs, followed by the cloud, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), fintech, and blockchain. These rapidly evolving technologies enable businesses to create significant value, but they also bring new security and privacy risks that are still not fully understood.
IT GRC solutions as maturity enablers
Respondents were asked to rate their IT risk management maturity on the 5 level Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) scale. 75 percent of the respondents who have implemented IT GRC solutions reported a CMMI maturity level of 3 or higher. In comparison, only 38 percent of the respondents who have not implemented IT GRC solutions reported a similar level of maturity – these organizations rely on a combination of spreadsheets, point solutions, and other tools which, going by the survey results, may not be as effective as IT GRC solutions in improving the maturity of IT risk management programs.
Top IT threats
The top 5 IT threats and risks that respondents reported facing in the last two years are malware infections, security breaches, compliance violations and regulatory actions, account phishing, and spoofs of company executives.
Maturity and potential vulnerabilities
Respondents reported relatively high levels of maturity (CMMI level 3 or higher) in IT risk identification and assessments, standardized documentation of processes and controls, control design and assessments, and IT risk monitoring and reporting.
However, when it came to IT risk management training, 51 percent of the respondents, and 52 percent of those in banking and financial services, reported a CMMI maturity of only level 1 or level 2. This lack of maturity could prove disastrous, as poorly trained employees fall prey more easily to social engineering attacks such as phishing which, in turn, open the door to larger attacks on enterprise security.
Despite these risks—and the fact that account phishing and spoofing were cited among the top 5 enterprise IT threats—it appears that respondents are not investing enough in employee training programs or better information governance frameworks. Instead, the top priority for respondents in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa is investing in IT security solutions, while in Europe, the US, and Canada, the primary focus is on compliance with government regulations.
“Guarding against the next Equifax-style cyber-attack will require enterprises to have holistic, agile IT risk management programs,” said French Caldwell, chief evangelist, MetricStream. “An IT GRC software solution can really add value by automating workflows, and providing timely risk intelligence to guide decisions. However, it’s just one piece of the pie. Policies, training programs, and information governance frameworks are all equally important. Together, they lay the foundation for a resilient and secure enterprise.”