Cybersecurity threats are an urgent problem that most organizations struggle to handle. Recent statistics show an explosive increase in cyberattacks and data breaches, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adopting the work-from-home model has weakened most organizations' security defenses because employees need to use their devices and home internet connections to remotely access corporate resources.

A recent study by Varonis concluded that most organizations have poor cybersecurity practices in place. This increases the risk of data breaches and makes their data vulnerable to various cyber threats. To reduce threats emerging from different threat actors, organizations need to adopt cybersecurity awareness training for their employees, enforce best security practices, and make these practices a part of their overall culture.

IT risk management is defined as the set of policies, procedures, processes, and technological tools organizations adopt to lower security threats, vulnerabilities, and other consequences (e.g., legal) that may arise if organization data was compromised.

Certifications in IT risk management have become essential in today's information age. As the digital transformation is gaining more popularity (especially after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic), organizations are willing to hire cybersecurity professionals with risk management knowledge to help them reduce cyberthreats and protect their valuable data.

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This article discusses four of the most popular IT risk management certifications that IT professionals can obtain to increase their knowledge about this vital topic and demonstrate their ability to face IT security and enterprise risk management's unique challenges.

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

Offered by ISACA, CRISC is the most prestigious IT risk management certification. By having this credential, IT professionals display their ability to identify and manage an organization's IT risk and implement various security controls to protect its IT assets.

Gaining CRISC certification will prove expertise in the following four IT risk domains:

  1. IT risk identification: Identify an organization's IT assets (including data) to identify potential risks, vulnerabilities, or threats against them.
  2. IT risk assessment: This section covers creating a risk assessment plan to identify anything that may be considered a threat against an organization's IT system.
  3. Risk response and mitigation: This section covers creating a risk response plan if an organization suffers from a cyberattack. It also covers procedures to restore normal operations after implanting the risk response plan.
  1. Risk control, monitoring, and reporting: As its name implies, this domain deals with continuous monitoring of IT risks and the security controls already in place. Also, it considers the necessary updates to the risk management strategy to make sure it is still aligning with business objectives.

CRISC can be beneficial for professional groups: Business analysts, compliance professionals, risk control professionals, project managers, and IT risk professionals. Of course, any employee responsible for managing enterprise IT risk and controls should consider obtaining this certification.

Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

CGEIT is another certification from ISACA; it assesses professionals' ability in the knowledge and application of enterprise IT governance principles and practices. In a nutshell, this certification demonstrates an IT professional can bring IT governance to his/her organization and advance and support its implementation.

CGEIT certification covers the following four practice domains:

  1. Governance of Enterprise IT: Governance framework, technology, and information governance.
  2. IT Resources: IT resources planning and optimization.
  3. Benefits Realization: IT performance and management of IT-enabled investments.
  4. Risk Optimization: Includes risk strategy and management.

Many organizations consider CGEIT certification a prerequisite for any employee to work in the enterprise IT governance domain.

Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA)

CERA is offered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA); it is a globally recognized enterprise risk management (ERM) certificate developed for working professional to help them contribute to better business decisions and to test their awareness of the challenges, tools, technology, and the process to design and implement a risk management program.

CERA accesses individuals with the highest understanding of risk management processes, creating reliable corporate risk management programs, risks identifications and potential impact on business (costs), and determining strategies to minimize risks, among other objectives.

COBIT is a framework created by ISACA for IT governance and management. Among COBIT certification offerings, COBIT 5 certification levels are considered strongly related to IT risk management.

COBIT 5, which was released in 2012, helps enterprises meet the ever-growing regulatory compliance challenges and risk management and helps them align their IT strategy with business objectives.

COBIT 5 is based on the following five fundamental principles, which, once implemented, ensure effective management and governance of any enterprise IT:

  1. Meeting stakeholder needs
  2. Covering the enterprise end-to-end
  3. Applying a single integrated framework
  4. Enabling a holistic approach
  5. Separating governance from management

There are three COBIT 5 certifications available from ISACA:

  • COBIT 5 Assessor
  • COBIT 5 Foundation
  • COBIT 5 Implementation


This article introduced four of the most popular (and globally recognized) risk management certifications. Achieving certification in risk management is considered essential for any IT or working professionals responsible for managing an organization's IT risk management or security controls. Ultimately, organizations become more protected from cyber threats when their employees have the necessary education and knowledge in this field.

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