Risk assessments have become an essential part of implementing an effective information security management system (ISMS) for organizations in almost every industry. However, just because risk assessments have become a regular part of the job for IT professionals, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Organizations can spend a countless amount of time, energy, and effort conducting assessments and taking the appropriate action steps to mitigate the risks that were identified.

As a result, many organizations have turned to risk management software or even Governance, Risk, & Compliance (GRC) tools as a way to organize the IT risk management process and risk management solutions. When used as they should be, these tools can help managers tackle and prioritize projects with the best risk/reward outcome, as well as strengthen operations across the entire ISMS. However, while the end goal might be the same, each tool provides a different experience.

The Two Biggest Factors When Choosing a Risk & Compliance Assessment Tool

So, how do you know which GRC tool or risk management software to choose? From our experience in working with hundreds of organizations across various industries, here are the two most important factors we’ve found when it comes to finding a GRC tool that ensures maximum efficiency and minimum loss:

  1. A Comprehensive Approach to Risk Assessments—A true risk assessment goes beyond simply using a checklist based on a single security framework. It must help in identifying cybersecurity risks by evaluating and addressing your assets, threats, vulnerabilities, likelihood, impact, and overall risk. Beyond that, your tool needs to track deficient areas and ensure that the appropriate stakeholders are held accountable for remediation. Choosing a GRC tool that takes all these factors into account is critical. When considering a risk management tool, it’s important to consider: Does it address qualitative and quantitative risks? Does it identify instigating events and root causes? Being able to see areas of concern before they become a huge problem is one of the most valuable benefits a comprehensive risk and compliance assessment tool can provide.
  2. Flexibility to Meet Your Specific Needs—While gaining a holistic view into your risk management processes is valuable, you also need to be able to address your specific needs and challenges. The flexibility to customize your risk assessment process and use any control framework (or multiple frameworks) is an equally important factor when choosing a risk and compliance assessment tool. Right now, you may only need SOX compliance capabilities, but your future iteration may require HIPAA compliance in a solution. Finding a tool that provides the flexibility you need to meet these control frameworks is important to consider as your business grows and adapts over the years.

A Comprehensive Solution Built To Meet Your Needs

Our team at LBMC Information Security has had a front-row seat to the obstacles and challenges created by Risk Management tools and GRC software. That’s why we created BALLAST to be an inexpensive, easy-to-use solution for an organization’s risk and compliance assessment needs.

If you want to learn more about how BALLAST can help you streamline your risk assessment process, feel free to read about our latest blog posts, or get a quote for your specific needs.

Mark Fulford

Mark Fulford

Mark Fulford, CISSP, CISA, ABCP, CRISC, is a Shareholder in the risk services division of LBMC, PC. With nearly 25 years of experience in information security audit and compliance, Mark understands how to translate technical jargon into actionable intelligence. With significant experience in healthcare, his expertise includes assisting companies with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA & PCI, HITRUST compliance, as well as providing assurance to clients and their stakeholders through SOC 1 and 2 reporting engagements. More recently, his focus has been on helping organizations identify and manage information security risks through both guided and automated risk assessment techniques.