What is an IT Risk Assessment Template, and How to Make One? A Comprehensive Guide

This article will discuss IT risk assessment and how to write an IT risk assessment template. Read here to learn more.

Last Updated on December 29, 2023 by Ossian Muscad

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, conducting an IT Risk Assessment has become critical for businesses. An IT Risk Assessment is a comprehensive analysis that identifies vulnerabilities and potential hazards in a company’s IT systems, which could disrupt operations or compromise sensitive data. It functions as the first line of defense in information security, aiding businesses in identifying weaknesses and implementing robust security measures to safeguard their assets.

IT Risk Assessment Templates, in this context, are instrumental tools that streamline the risk assessment process. They provide a structured framework for documenting potential risks, their severity, and mitigation strategies, making it more manageable and systematic. This article aims to delve into the intricacies of IT Risk Assessments and guide you in developing an effective IT Risk Assessment Template for your business.


Understanding IT Risk Assessment

IT risks refer to potential threats or vulnerabilities that could compromise the security or performance of a company’s IT systems, leading to data loss, financial damage, or operational disruption. These risks can stem from internal and external sources and manifest in several ways. Here are some of the major types of IT risks that businesses should be wary of:

  1. Cybersecurity Risks: These risks revolve around potential threats to your business’s cyber infrastructure, such as malicious software (malware), phishing attacks, ransomware threats, and other cyber-attacks.
  2. Data Breach Risks: These concern unauthorized access, disclosure, or theft of sensitive data, which could be the personal information of customers or proprietary business information.
  3. Operational Risks: These risks are associated with the malfunction or failure of IT systems or processes, leading to operational disruptions and financial losses.

Benefits of Conducting IT Risk Assessments

Conducting an IT Risk Assessment is a proactive approach to safeguard your business’s cyberspace. It not only helps you identify potential risks but also prioritizes them, allowing for efficient allocation of resources. This process is beneficial in several ways:

  • Improved Security Posture: Regular IT risk assessments help businesses strengthen their security posture by identifying vulnerabilities and implementing appropriate security controls.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many industries have strict data security regulations. IT risk assessments can ensure that your business complies with these regulations, avoiding potential fines and reputational damage.
  • Prioritized Risk Management: By identifying and assessing the severity of potential risks, businesses can prioritize their risk management efforts, focusing on the most significant threats first.
  • Prevention of Data Breaches: By identifying the potential avenues for a data breach, businesses can take proactive steps to secure their data, thereby preventing costly and damaging data breaches.
  • Business Continuity: IT risk assessments can help ensure business continuity by identifying potential threats to critical IT infrastructure and services, enabling businesses to develop robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

In today’s regulatory environment, IT Risk Assessments are not just best practices – they are often required by law. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal consequences. Additionally, they ensure your business aligns with industry standards and best practices:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Enforced by the European Union, GDPR mandates businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens. Regular risk assessments can help ensure compliance with GDPR’s data protection requirements.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): For healthcare industries, HIPAA requires the protection of sensitive patient health information. A thorough IT risk assessment could help identify potential risks to patient data, showcasing your commitment to HIPAA.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): If your business involves card transactions, you must comply with PCI DSS. It requires businesses to conduct network vulnerability scans and risk assessments regularly.
  • ISO 27001: It is an international standard for information security management. Regular risk assessments align your business with ISO 27001, enhancing your organization’s credibility.
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): For publicly traded companies, SOX requires the establishment of internal controls and reporting methods on the adequacy of these controls. Regular IT risk assessments help demonstrate compliance with this Act.
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): For federal agencies and contractors, FISMA requires regular audits and risk assessments to ensure data integrity, confidentiality, and availability.


Components of an IT Risk Assessment Template

An effective IT Risk Assessment Template comprises several key components, each contributing to a comprehensive understanding of IT risks and how to mitigate them. These components help businesses systematically assess their IT environment, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, and analyze the associated risks. The primary elements of an IT Risk Assessment Template include Identification of Assets and Resources, Threat Identification, Vulnerability Assessment, and Risk Analysis.

Identification of Assets and Resources

At the heart of any IT Risk Assessment is a deep understanding of the assets and resources critical to the organization’s operation and could be potential targets for threats. These assets often fall into the categories of Data Assets and Hardware and Software Assets.

  • Data Assets: This includes all data critical to the business’s functioning. It could be sensitive customer data, proprietary business information, or any data that could disrupt operations or lead to legal and financial implications if compromised.
  • Hardware and Software Assets: These are the physical and digital resources that your business relies on. From servers and computers to databases and application software, these assets are vital infrastructure threats that could be targeted.

Threat Identification

Identifying potential threats is a crucial step in the risk assessment process. Understanding potential threats’ source and nature helps businesses better prepare and mitigate these risks. Threats can be broadly classified as Internal Threats and External Threats.

  • Internal Threats: These are risks that originate from within the organization. This could be due to negligent employees, disgruntled staff, or inadequate security practices and procedures.
  • External Threats: These are threats from outside the organization. They could be cybercriminals, hackers, or even natural disasters that could disrupt your IT infrastructure.

Vulnerability Assessment

A vulnerability assessment involves identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system. This helps to identify weaknesses in your IT infrastructure that could be exploited by threats, allowing you to take proactive steps to secure these vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of compromise. In addition, vulnerability assessments help to allocate resources effectively and prioritize remediation efforts.

Risk Analysis

Once potential threats and vulnerabilities have been identified, the next step is to analyze these risks. This involves assessing the likelihood of the risk occurring and the potential impact if it does occur. This process often involves the use of a Risk Matrix.

  • Likelihood and Impact: This involves assessing the likelihood of a threat exploiting a vulnerability and the potential impact on the organization if it does. This helps prioritize risks and allocate resources effectively.
  • Risk Matrix: A risk matrix is a valuable tool that allows one to visualize and prioritize risks based on their likelihood and impact. It helps businesses focus on the most significant risks, contributing to more efficient risk management.


Creating an IT Risk Assessment Template

Now that we know the components of an IT risk assessment template, we can delve into the step-by-step guide on creating one. This process involves defining the scope, identifying and prioritizing assets, assessing threats and vulnerabilities, determining likelihood and impact, calculating and evaluating risks, developing mitigation strategies, and documenting findings and recommendations. These steps are pivotal in developing a comprehensive and effective IT risk assessment template.

Step 1: Define the Scope

Defining the scope of your IT risk assessment involves setting clear boundaries. It includes determining what parts of your organization’s IT environment you want to assess, such as specific systems, infrastructure, or data. By understanding the scope, you can effectively allocate your resources and efforts to areas critical to your business.

Defining the scope ensures you can identify and prioritize potential risks and vulnerabilities, allowing you to implement appropriate controls and mitigation strategies. A comprehensive approach to defining the scope will enable you to conduct a thorough and accurate assessment, providing valuable insights for decision-making and risk management.

Step 2: Identify and Prioritize Assets

In this crucial step, you must meticulously identify the assets critical to your business operations and carefully prioritize them based on their importance and potential impact. These assets encompass various elements such as data, hardware infrastructure, software applications, and network systems.

By prioritizing these assets, you can effectively allocate your resources and efforts toward safeguarding and protecting the ones that would have the greatest impact on your business if compromised. This thoughtful approach ensures that your business remains resilient and well-prepared in the face of potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Step 3: Assess Threats and Vulnerabilities

This step entails a comprehensive analysis to identify and assess potential threats and vulnerabilities that pose a risk to your critical assets. Threats can arise from internal and external sources, while vulnerabilities pertain to weaknesses within your systems that these threats could exploit.

By regularly conducting thorough assessments of these threats and vulnerabilities, you can ensure early detection and prompt remediation, thereby enhancing the overall security of your assets. At the same time, this proactive approach helps to mitigate potential risks and minimize the impact on your business.

Step 4: Determine the Likelihood and Impact

To effectively prioritize risks, it is crucial to determine the likelihood and impact of threats and vulnerabilities. Likelihood refers to the probability of a threat exploiting a vulnerability, considering factors such as the sophistication of the threat actor and the ease of exploiting the vulnerability.

On the other hand, impact involves assessing the potential consequences if the threat occurs, including the magnitude of the damage, financial losses, and potential harm to individuals or critical assets. By thoroughly analyzing both likelihood and impact, organizations can make informed decisions and allocate resources appropriately to mitigate risks.

Step 5: Calculate and Evaluate Risks

Risk calculation is a crucial process that involves assessing a threat’s likelihood and potential impact of exploiting a vulnerability. By determining the risk level, you can effectively prioritize mitigation strategies. Evaluating these risks helps identify potential vulnerabilities and allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the overall risk landscape.

This detailed analysis enables organizations to make informed decisions and allocate resources effectively. Additionally, regularly evaluating risks allows for ongoing risk management and implementing necessary controls to safeguard critical assets.

Step 6: Develop Mitigation Strategies

Based on a thorough evaluation of the risks, developing effective strategies to mitigate them is crucial. This could involve implementing new and advanced security measures, enhancing the existing ones, or strategically reallocating resources to address vulnerabilities. The ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the likelihood or impact of the identified risks, ensuring a safer and more secure environment.

Step 7: Document Findings and Recommendations

The final step entails thoroughly documenting your findings and recommendations. This comprehensive documentation should encompass all identified assets, threats, vulnerabilities, risks, and the corresponding mitigation strategies. By serving as a detailed record of your IT risk assessment, this document will also provide a valuable guide for implementing the recommended mitigation strategies, ensuring effective risk management.


Best Practices for IT Risk Assessment Templates

As you work towards developing and maintaining an effective IT risk assessment template, there are best practices that can guide your process and enhance the efficacy of your risk management strategies. These practices encapsulate regular updates and reviews, involvement of stakeholders, integration with overall risk management, and continuous monitoring and improvement.

Regular Updates and Reviews

For an IT risk assessment template to remain effective, it must be regularly updated and reviewed. This is because IT environments are dynamic, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging constantly. Regular reviews allow for identifying these new risks and updating the risk assessment to account for them. This ensures that your IT risk assessment template stays current and continues to provide an accurate picture of your IT risk landscape.

Involvement of Stakeholders

The IT risk assessment process should involve key stakeholders from across your organization. This includes leaders from different departments who can provide valuable insights into the assets crucial to their operations and the potential risks that could impact them. By involving stakeholders, you ensure a holistic understanding of your organization’s IT environment and foster a shared ownership of risk management.

Integration with Overall Risk Management

Your IT risk assessment should not exist in isolation but should be integrated into your organization’s larger risk management framework. This means aligning your IT risk assessment with your organization’s risk appetite, strategic goals, and regulatory requirements. Through integration, you can ensure a coordinated and consistent approach to risk management across all facets of your organization.

Continuous Monitoring and Improvement

Lastly, best practices recommend continuously monitoring and improving your IT risk assessment process. This involves tracking the effectiveness of your risk mitigation strategies, identifying areas for improvement, and making necessary adjustments. Continuous monitoring and improvement ensure that your IT risk assessment remains robust, adaptable, and capable of responding to the evolving risk landscape.


Tools for IT Risk Assessment

IT Risk Assessment Software is a vital tool that aids businesses in identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing IT-related risks. These software solutions can streamline risk assessment, ensuring thoroughness, consistency, and accuracy. They range from comprehensive enterprise solutions to more specific tools catering to certain risk management aspects.

  1. RiskSense: RiskSense offers full-spectrum vulnerability management and prioritization, allowing organizations to understand and manage their cyber risk from a unified dashboard. It aggregates and correlates data from disparate sources to provide a clear, actionable view of risk.
  2. Resolver: Resolver’s risk management software connects risks to incidents so that assessments of the risk can be verified. It’s easy to use, with a simple, intuitive interface that makes risk management tasks more efficient.
  3. LogicGate Risk Cloud: An agile GRC software solution, LogicGate Risk Cloud enables businesses to identify, track, and mitigate risks accurately. It offers highly customizable workflows and a drag-and-drop interface.

Spreadsheet Templates for IT Risk Assessment

While numerous software solutions are available, traditional spreadsheet templates can still be an effective tool for IT risk assessment. They offer a simple, straightforward method to document and track risks, and they can be easily customized to suit an organization’s specific needs.

  1. Microsoft Excel Templates: Microsoft provides a variety of ready-to-use templates that can be easily adapted for IT risk assessment. These templates provide essential risk registration and tracking capabilities.
  2. Google Sheets Templates: Google Sheets offers collaborative, cloud-based spreadsheet templates that can be utilized for risk assessment. These templates facilitate real-time collaboration and are easily accessible across different devices.
  3. Smartsheet IT Risk Assessment Template: Smartsheet provides a comprehensive, customizable template for IT risk assessment. It offers enhanced features like automated workflows and reminders, real-time collaboration, and easy integration with popular platforms.

Customization Options for IT Risk Assessment Templates

Adapting IT risk assessment templates to your organization’s unique needs can greatly enhance their effectiveness. Customization can range from simple changes in the layout and documented categories of risks to more complex alterations like adding automated calculations or integrations with other systems.

  1. Risk Categories: You can customize your template to include relevant risk categories to your business, providing a more tailored view of potential vulnerabilities.
  2. Automation: Some templates allow for the addition of automated calculations or risk prioritization. This can help streamline the process and ensure consistency.
  3. Integration: Depending on the platform used, templates may be integrated with your organization’s other software or systems. This facilitates a more unified approach to risk management.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Why is having an IT Risk Assessment Template important for a business?

An IT Risk Assessment Template is crucial for businesses because it provides a structured approach to identify, analyze, and prioritize potential IT-related threats that could impact the organization’s functioning. Businesses can develop strategic mitigation plans by documenting these risks, ensuring they are well-prepared to address any vulnerabilities.

This proactive approach reduces their vulnerability to cyber threats and enhances the organization’s overall security posture. With a well-defined risk assessment process, businesses can confidently navigate the dynamic IT landscape and ensure smooth operations despite evolving challenges.

Q2: How often should a business update its IT Risk Assessment Template?

The frequency of updates for the IT Risk Assessment Template can vary based on several factors. These factors include changes in the IT environment, the introduction of new technologies, or recent cyber threat trends. 

However, as a best practice, it is recommended that businesses conduct a thorough review and update of their IT Risk Assessment Template at least annually. Additionally, updates should also be performed whenever significant changes occur in the IT infrastructure to ensure the assessment remains accurate and up-to-date.

Q3: Can a small business benefit from an IT Risk Assessment Template?

Indeed, cyber attacks frequently target small businesses due to the perception of weaker security measures. As a result, even small businesses can greatly benefit from utilizing an IT Risk Assessment Template. 

Using this template, they can comprehensively understand their IT risk landscape, identify potential threats, and take appropriate actions to mitigate those risks. This proactive approach protects their valuable assets and customer data, safeguarding their business from potential harm.


Streamline IT Risk Assessment Template Creation and Implementation with DATAMYTE

DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. Our Digital Clipboard, in particular, is a low-code workflow automation software that features a workflow, checklist, and smart form builder. This tool lets you quickly and efficiently create your IT Risk Assessment Template, allowing you to focus on addressing risks rather than worrying about the intricacies of template creation.

DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.

With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for IT risk management, quality assurance, and process improvement. Our platform offers flexibility, scalability, and efficiency to help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals securely and effectively. Book a demo now to learn more.



An IT risk assessment template is pivotal in safeguarding a business’s valuable assets by outlining potential threats and vulnerabilities. These templates, which can be found in various formats such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Smartsheet, provide a robust framework for documenting and tracking IT-related risks, and their customization options further enhance their utility, enabling businesses to tailor them to their specific needs.

While creating and customizing these templates are crucial to their effectiveness, the value lies in their regular use and update. IT risk assessment is not a one-off task but a continuous process that evolves with the ever-changing IT landscape. Businesses, regardless of their size, are encouraged to maintain an updated IT risk assessment template and conduct regular assessments to stay ahead of potential threats.

By making IT risk assessment an integral part of your business strategy, you not only fortify your defenses against cyber threats but also ensure the smooth running of your operations, bolstering your organization’s overall growth and success. Embracing this continuous, proactive approach towards IT risk management is a strategic move promising significant returns.



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