The Mitigation of ICT Risks Using Emitl Tool: An Empirical Study
As the dependence on ICT in running organisations’ core services is increasing, so is the exposure to the associated risks due to ICT use. In order to meet organisational objectives in ICT dependent organisations, risks due to ICT insecurity need to be addressed effectively and adequately. To achieve this, organisations must have effective means for the management of ICT risks. This involves assessment of the actual exposure to ICT risks relevant to their environment and implementation of relevant countermeasures based on the assessment results. On the contrary, in most organisations, ICT security (or ICT risk management) is perceived by the top management as a technical problem. As a result, measures for ICT risk mitigation that are ultimately put in place in such organisations tend to be inadequate. Furthermore, the traditional way of managing risks by transferring them to the insurance companies is not yet working, as it is difficult to estimate the financial consequences due to ICT-related risks. There is, therefore, a need to have methods or ways which can assist in interpreting ICT risks into a financial context (senior management language) thereby creating a common understanding of ICT risks among technical people and the management within ICT-dependent organisations. With a common understanding, it would be possible to realise a coordinated approach towards ICT risk mitigation.
This paper is an attempt to investigate whether ICT risk mitigation can be enhanced using a customised software tool. A software tool for converting financial terminologies (financial risk exposure) to corresponding ICT security terminologies (countermeasures) is presented. The Estimated Maximum Information Technology Loss (EMitL) tool is investigated for its suitability as an operational tool for the above-mentioned purpose. EMitL is a tool utilised in a framework (Business Requirements on Information Technology Security - BRITS) to bridge the understanding gap between senior management and the technical personnel (when it comes to ICT risk management). This work is based on an empirical study which involved interviews and observations conducted in five non-commercial organisations in Tanzania. The study was designed to establish the state of ICT security management practice in the studied organisations.
The results of the study are being used here to investigate the applicability of the EMitL tool to address the observed state. The results from this study show that it is possible to customise EMitL into a usefully operational tool for interpreting risk exposure due to ICT into corresponding countermeasures. These results underline the need to further improve EMitL for wider use.
Key wordsICT Risk management EMitL tool Countermeasures
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