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July 2003

IT risk assessment: Using security resource planning products to improve

Infosec professionals love to talk about risk. It defines our profession. But we often speak of risk as if it's some omniscient entity to which we must pay tribute. Practical enterprise risk management involves managing exposures associated with the people, places and things in an enterprise. How about we just get over it? We grapple with risk all the time. We create computing infrastructures in the most hostile environments, driven at breakneck speeds. All while obeying regulatory stop signs. Balancing risk and security and functionality and efficiency and budget is a big, complicated task. Most IT security pros use a "divide and conquer" strategy: compartmentalize risk into logical categories, then throw security products and loosely defined "best practices" at identified weaknesses. While this approach addresses risk, it doesn't address RISK. That is to say, it identifies and responds to risk factors on narrowly defined levels--application, network, human, regulatory, etc.--but it ignores how the pieces add up to an ...

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