In recent years, there has been a growing number of laws and regulations regarding IT governance practices. Organizations need to comply with these regulations or risk facing hefty penalties, and there’s no better way to do so than implementing IT governance. It is the formal framework that allows an organization’s IT investments to support its business objectives.
IT governance also includes the cybersecurity risk management process and helps align an organization’s business strategy with IT strategy.
It’s often considered alongside governance, risk, and compliance as two sides of the same coin. The only difference is that GRC usually covers additional business risks beyond IT.
- The Significance of IT Governance to Businesses
- Implementing an IT Governance Framework
- Choosing the IT Governance Framework to Use
The Significance of IT Governance to Businesses
Modern businesses leverage technology for day-to-day operations. They are subject to regulations and laws relating to confidential information, data retention, disaster recovery, and financial accountability.
The only way to adhere to the relevant laws and regulations is by implementing a formal IT governance framework that outlines the best controls and practices. Here’s why modern businesses need to have an IT governance framework:
It Helps Control and Direct IT Initiatives
Undoubtedly, the most significant benefit of having an IT governance program is that it allows the management team to organize, direct, and control IT initiatives more effectively.
The integrative approach that IT governance takes also enables businesses to assign the best resources toward meeting their goals and objectives. Moreover, IT teams will have a clearer vision of their role in meeting the organization’s business goals.
IT is a Critical Business Resource
With businesses relying more on their IT resources, the need for a governance structure can’t get overstated. These IT resources must get refined for a business to achieve its goals.
The only way to do so is by having a well-defined IT governance strategy. Without it, you’ll undoubtedly be missing out on opportunities to leverage your IT resources to meet your business goals.
IT Governance Enhances Security and Compliance
Data privacy laws and regulations have become even more stringent in recent years. A case in point is the EU’s GDPR. The legal concerns arising from these regulations mean it’s even more critical for businesses to comply.
That, paired with the ever-present risk of malware makes it essential for all businesses to ensure that their IT departments have the resources to defend company data and resources from invisible threats.
Good IT governance makes it easy for IT teams to spot threats before they morph into significant problems. On the flip side, the absence of an IT governance framework means you won’t have a reference point if you encounter challenges in your IT compliance journey.
With data compliance regulations and rules evolving by the day, staying up to speed can be difficult if you don’t have a program that defines your compliance journey.
An IT governance plan enables your organization to adapt to the ever-changing regulatory environment. Conversely, implementing IT governance as an afterthought could translate to costly mistakes and stiff penalties for your organization.
It Defines Expectations and Responsibilities
Businesses across all industries need to ensure that their IT departments meet expectations. An easy way of doing that is by having a framework for helping you meet organizational objectives.
For this reason, you should prioritize having an IT governance program. Although it may not be viable for smaller businesses to implement a full-fledged IT governance framework, organizations in heavily regulated industries shouldn’t ignore it.
Implementing an IT Governance Framework
A lot goes into implementing an IT governance framework because it touches on all aspects of your business. Establishing the framework may be a little daunting, especially for first-timers.
Nonetheless, there are lots of resources you can leverage to create an IT governance framework that meets your organization’s needs.
Most IT governance frameworks created by industry experts and used by other organizations include implementation guides that you can leverage to roll out a governance program with fewer obstacles. Some of the frameworks you can use as a reference point include:
Arguably, COBIT is the most widely used IT governance framework. It’s published by ISACA and comprises globally accepted practices, models, and analytical tools designed for the management and governance of IT resources. The framework primarily focuses on risk mitigation and management.
IT service management is the core focus of this IT governance framework. It aims at ensuring IT services support an organization’s bore processes.
ITIL comprises five core management best practices. These are service strategy, transition, operation, design, and continual service improvement.
Another IT governance model you can look at for inspiration is the COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission).
The IT governance framework’s focus is less IT-specific compared to other frameworks. Instead, it focuses more on business-related issues such as fraud deterrence and enterprise risk management.
Capability Maturity Model Integration is an IT governance framework designed by the Software Engineering Institute and focuses on performance improvement. It uses a scale of 1 to 5 to evaluate an organization’s quality, performance, and profitability maturity level.
By using this model to create your IT governance framework, it will be easier to incorporate objective measurements into your program.
Choosing the IT Governance Framework to Use
Generally, the above-mentioned IT governance frameworks are designed to help you gauge your IT department’s performance and the critical metrics needed to ensure a return on investment.
COSO and COBIT are meant for risk mitigation, while ITIL helps to streamline operations and services. Conversely, CMMI involves processes related to service delivery, purchasing, and hardware development.
Since each of these aspects plays a significant role in your organization’s success, it’s best to incorporate the positive components of each framework into your IT governance program.
Also, consider whether a particular model or framework is a natural fit for your company. If so, it could be the best choice.
The major IT governance frameworks are usually complementary, so there’s no harm in implementing two or more concurrently to help meet your organization’s IT governance goals and objectives.
While at it, you should track and monitor the progress of the implementation and be ready to seek expert help if needed.