The fast-paced nature of the IT environment presents a number of challenges for IT service professionals, not least the management of risk. The ever-evolving digital world means that businesses are forever changing and growing, adopting new technologies and transitioning their services. Handling risk effectively through this continuous change is paramount. Read on to discover how, as an ITSM, you can master smart practices to harness risk management.
What we know about risk management
Here at ITIL Training we’ve discussed risk management processes before. By using a risk matrix ITSMs are able to define the probability of a risk occurring. It will involve analysing business assets, any threats to those assets and monitoring threat parameters and the business’ vulnerability. From the risk matrix it is simpler to determine a risk’s threat level and likelihood of occurring, and so it becomes much easier for management to make decisions going forward.
The ITIL risk management framework is recognised within the ITIL lifecycle. Such measures enable organisations to identify, assess and prioritise potential business risks which could cause loss or harm its ability to achieve objectives. Managing risk is an ongoing practice that is essential for all organisational activities. It is integral for co-creating value and for an organisation’s service value system (SVS).
Best practices for handling risk
Within ITIL4 training, risk management is a core concept – all you need to know about risk is in one place. The ITIL risk management process model helps to monitor existing risks and identify any new risks. Vitally, it also helps to determine a risk’s threat level and impact, plus guidelines for controlling risk. The practice guide breaks down four key practices for handling risk, which are:
- Risk avoidance - A top way to prevent risk is by not performing the risky activity. The issue here is that it is not always possible. For example, if the risk is natural, beyond your control or business dependent this may not be a viable option.
- Risk modification and reduction - By identifying and implementing controls, the impact of the risk will be lessened. Prioritise reduction measures and form a risk management action plan with mitigation measures and by finding ways to reduce risk.
- Risk sharing - Another key way to reduce the impact is by passing some of the risk to a third party. Whilst this will vary from business to business and depend on the situation, risk sharing can be an effective way to minimise potential damage.
- Risk retention and acceptance - Finally, choosing to intentionally accept the risk because it’s below an acceptable threshold is key within handling risk. Once a risk has been identified (type and nature), analysed (impact and probability) and an action plan formed, the business can proceed with greater confidence.
Risk management is a continual process and must be measured and monitored as part of ongoing practice. For this reason it is essential that companies define the responsibilities of those involved in ITIL risk management. All IT employees have a role to play within risk management, and so it can be hugely beneficial to get the whole team ITIL certified. Companies who experience the most success have integrated ITIL at every level, from business owners right through to front line service staff.
Expect the unexpected
It goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us all to expect the unexpected. Effective management of digital services has been essential for progress, and is set to continue to play a vital role in organisations’ readiness for change as part of risk management. In this way continuity management and risk go hand in hand. Being sufficiently prepared to implement change and act with agility play a key role.
Being able to adapt quickly and flexibly, combined with anticipating and measuring risk, is a recipe for continuity success! And so, companies must look to agile practices to better their resilience. Operating in a more agile way will ensure a speedy response and that disruption is minimal. ITIL 4 provides up-to-date guidance on resilience and agility, and enables trained employees to adjust operating models and be ready to take action should risk occur. In our constantly changing world, being able to cope with change is a necessity.
To learn more about handling risk in IT environments, consider our accredited ITIL4 training and certification.