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The ultimate guide to integrated risk management

Louis Strauss |

June 25, 2024
The ultimate guide to integrated risk management

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The ultimate guide to integrated risk management


Integrated risk management provides organizations with a comprehensive approach to tackling diverse types of risks through coordinated processes, practices, and technologies. In this guide, we will explore the components of integrated risk management, its significance, and how you can implement an integrated risk management strategy to establish a culture of risk awareness, security, and compliance across your organization.

What is integrated risk management?

Integrated Risk Management (IRM) is a process that encompasses the entire organization and creates a unified framework for managing and mitigating risks. A term first coined by Garner in 2017, IRM considers the interconnected nature of risks across various departments and functions, unlike traditional risk management which often focuses on specific areas such as finance or operations in isolation.

IRM involves a set of processes and technologies that enables organizations to strategically and proactively identify, evaluate, respond to, monitor, and report on risks. This discipline ensures that risks are managed consistently across the organization, enhancing resilience and agility.

Why is integrated risk management important?

Developing an integrated risk management strategy allows organizations to improve their overall risk governance and exercise better control over various business activities, from day-to-day operations to larger-scale strategic initiatives such as regulatory compliance and supply chain management. Here are some of the benefits of IRM:

  • Enhanced risk oversight: IRM promotes a comprehensive view of organizational risks through detailed risk assessments, streamlining communication between leadership and IT teams which facilitates data-driven decision-making
  • Finding opportunities and efficiencies: Risk analysis and evaluation are key components of IRM, enabling organizations to identify both opportunities or positive impacts of risks and efficiencies in current processes and procedures
  • Effective risk mitigation: Adopting an integrated risk management strategy demonstrates how well an organization can mitigate, treat, and manage its unique risks which fosters trust among customers, partners, and stakeholders
  • Operational resilience: With an integrated approach to risk management, organizations can safeguard their data, assets, and systems against potential threats and be well-prepared for any disasters and disruptions, ensuring business continuity
  • Cost savings: By mitigating individual risks through corresponding security controls, organizations can reduce or eliminate costs associated with cyberattacks, operational or reputational damage, and legal or regulatory non-compliance

The 6 components of integrated risk management

Components and Implementation of IRM 1

An integrated risk management program consists of six key elements:


The first component of IRM is a risk management strategy that aligns with your organizational context and business objectives. This entails developing a risk management framework by analyzing your organization’s structure, industry, operations, and compliance requirements, identifying risks that are relevant to your organization, and creating a risk profile to determine your organization’s ability and willingness to take on these risks.


The next component of IRM is risk assessment. In order to identify the different cyber risks, operational risks, market risks, and other types of risks faced by your organization and evaluate their likelihood and impact, a thorough risk assessment must be conducted. Identified risks must then be prioritized based on their overall risk rating. The results of risk assessments must be documented, communicated, and regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain applicable to the organization.


Based on risk identification, assessment, and prioritization, creating a response program is the next step to eliminate, resolve, or reduce the impact of risks. This involves formulating risk treatment plans, designing risk mitigation controls, establishing dedicated risk management teams, and assigning remediation actions to ensure clear ownership and accountability.

Communication and reporting

A critical component of IRM is maintaining transparency in risk management activities and cultivating a risk-aware culture. This requires establishing communication channels and reporting mechanisms to keep employees, vendors, partners, and other key stakeholders aligned with the organization’s risk management strategy and informed about the progress of response initiatives.


Continuously monitoring risks, treatment plans, controls, risk management procedures, and business processes is essential to verify the effectiveness of the organization’s risk management strategy. This could include producing regular reports on risk assessments and mitigation measures, utilizing automated monitoring systems, and conducting periodic audits and assessments to gain insight into the organization’s risk posture.


Finally, implementing technology solutions that support your risk management strategy and mitigation activities is the last component to complete and augment your IRM efforts. Software such as 6clicks offer risk management, control management, compliance automation, and other capabilities, all in one platform to help your organization streamline the deployment and operation of your IRM program.

Steps for building an IRM program

Based on the components above, you can now proceed to build your IRM program.  Executing an IRM strategy requires careful planning and collaboration among leaders and members of the organization. Fundamental steps include:

Components and Implementation of IRM 2

  1. Setting objectives: Lay down risk management objectives to define the outcomes that your organization would like to achieve with the IRM program. These objectives must cover cybersecurity, disaster preparedness, and other aspects of risk management while maintaining alignment with your business strategy. Support from leadership teams must also be established.
  2. Building a risk assessment framework: Set up procedures and workflows for identifying, classifying, evaluating, prioritizing, addressing, and reporting on the status of risks and delegate roles and responsibilities to appropriate team members. It also involves using tools such as a risk register to store, organize, and manage risks, a risk taxonomy for categorizing risks, and risk matrices to illustrate the likelihood and impact of risks.
  3. Identifying assets and resources: Information about your organization’s assets such as data, infrastructure, and systems, as well as resources such as vendors, stakeholders, and employees, must be recorded, compiled, and organized. Assets and resources must also be mapped to the business processes depending on them to gain a clear understanding of how their associated risks can impact the organization.
  4. Implementing risk mitigation measures: Develop security policies, enforce compliance and risk mitigation controls, and create risk treatment plans to remediate or minimize risks. Risk awareness must be incorporated into the organization’s security culture through training and education, the same way risk information must be integrated into strategic decisions for effective risk management.
  5. Monitoring risk management activities: To ensure risk management processes and mitigation measures are working as intended, ongoing monitoring is necessary. Adopt technologies such as continuous control monitoring to automate the testing and validation of controls. Routinely report the status of risks and treatment plans to executives and perform internal audits and security assessments on a regular basis to uncover non-conformities and inefficiencies, allowing you to execute corrective actions or make improvements as necessary.

Leverage 6clicks for integrated risk management

The 6clicks platform offers integrated IT Risk Management and Security Compliance solutions, empowering organizations to manage risk assessments and response plans, control implementation and monitoring, and audits and assessments, all in one place.

Make the most of powerful features such as comprehensive risk libraries and risk registers, custom risk workflows and risk assessment fields, task tracking, continuous control monitoring, audit and assessment templates, and more.

Our AI engine Hailey can also map your controls to regulatory requirements to identify compliance gaps as well as generate responses based on previous data to expedite your audit and assessment process.

Finally, streamline other areas of your risk management strategy with our Vendor Risk Management, Asset Management, and Issue & Incident Management capabilities.

See the entire 6clicks platform in action by scheduling a consultation with one of our experts.

Frequently asked questions

What is the scope of integrated risk management?

Integrated risk management covers the development of a risk management strategy and risk response plan, risk assessment, communication, reporting, and monitoring of risk management activities, and the implementation of technology solutions for managing and mitigating risks.

How do you implement an integrated risk management strategy?

To build an IRM program, first you need to set risk management objectives and put in place risk assessment mechanisms and procedures. You must also define your assets and resources and the internal processes they are connected with to properly assess the impact of their associated risks on the organization. Then, mitigation measures must be implemented, and all risk management activities must be communicated and continuously monitored and improved.

What is the difference between IRM and GRC?

While IRM takes a proactive, business-centric approach and primarily focuses on addressing risks comprehensively and holistically, Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) aims to ensure that an organization operates in a controlled manner, adheres to external regulations and internal policies, and manages risks effectively. Despite their differences in scope, focus, and components, both IRM and GRC are disciplines that enable organizations to maintain a risk-aware culture and bolster security and compliance.

Louis Strauss

Written by Louis Strauss

Louis is the Co-founder and Chief Product Marketing Officer (CPMO) at 6clicks, where he spearheads collaboration among product, marketing, engineering, and sales teams. With a deep-seated passion for innovation, Louis drives the development of elegant AI-powered solutions tailored to address the intricate challenges CISOs, InfoSec teams, and GRC professionals face. Beyond cyber GRC, Louis enjoys reading and spending time with his friends and family.