How You Can Minimize the Risks and Challenges to Your IT Environment
Most organizations rely on the availability and performance of their information technology (IT) environment. Success or failure is often dependent on how effectively a company’s computing infrastructure addresses its business objectives and customer requirements. Maintaining the availability and performance of this vital resource is the responsibility of a company’s IT team.
What are the Main Risks and Challenges to an IT Environment?
A full listing of the risks and challenges facing a modern IT environment would exceed our space limitations. Let’s concentrate on the major risks and challenges that impact virtually all organizations with an IT infrastructure.
Following are some of the main risks to an IT environment.
• Cybercrime and hacking – The modern IT environment is increasingly under attack from a wide variety of malicious forces. Hackers, often in well-organized and funded gangs, attempt to extort businesses by planting ransomware and other types of malware on their critical systems. Cybercriminals might try to steal sensitive or valuable data resources for financial profit. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks may be launched to disrupt business operations.
• Human error – Whether caused by insufficient training, inattention, or ineptitude, human error is a major risk in every IT organization. Failure to follow procedures or a simple mistake can result in data loss and system outages. Employees who are tricked by a phishing attack can inadvertently allow hackers to plant ransomware and severely impact a business. As long as humans are involved in IT, this risk can only be mitigated, not eliminated.
• Insider attacks – Malicious insiders are one of the biggest risks to an IT environment. Some employees necessarily need access to sensitive data that can be very valuable to other entities. They can misuse this access for personal gain while damaging the business. It can be extremely difficult to completely safeguard an organization against insider attacks.
• Unexpected outages – Outages can be caused by the aforementioned risks as well as disasters outside of anyone’s control. Severe weather events, earthquakes, and civil unrest can all cause unexpected and extended outages to an IT environment that threaten a company’s survival.
The following main challenges need to be addressed to maintain an effective IT environment.
• Outdated technology – A challenge faced by many companies is the use of outdated legacy components and applications that impact their ability to maximize their IT environment. It can be difficult to justify the capital expenditure required to update an on-premises infrastructure.
• Insufficient capacity – Running out of storage space, network bandwidth, or other infrastructure components limits the functionality of an IT environment. Under-provisioned systems may not be able to handle a sudden influx of customers. A company can lose the opportunity to attract new business due to a lack of capacity.
• Maintaining competitiveness – Modern, data-driven companies need access to cutting-edge technology to compete in the marketplace. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) need to be integrated into an organization’s existing computing landscape. Adopting new technology allows them to identify and take advantage of emerging trends
Minimizing Risks and Challenges to Your IT Environment
The following strategies and tactics can be used to minimize the risks and challenges to a company’s IT environment.
Conduct a thorough IT assessment
The first step in minimizing the risks and challenges that face an IT environment is to conduct a thorough assessment. Multiple components go into a comprehensive evaluation of a computing environment. An infrastructure assessment will provide a picture of the computing landscape. This view can serve as a starting point for upgrades and enhancements.
Dedicated security assessments are also recommended to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. This type of evaluation goes beyond the security issues found in an infrastructure review. In regulated industries, an assessment can be useful in identifying issues that affect compliance and need to immediately be addressed.
Address identified gaps and vulnerabilities
Once security and operational vulnerabilities are identified, they need to be addressed quickly and effectively. Issues should be prioritized based on the sensitivity of the data or system involved and its importance to the business.
Develop and test disaster recovery and business continuity plans
Companies need disaster recovery and business continuity plans that address specific infrastructure components and the overall environment. These plans need to be coordinated with backup strategies and procedures to ensure systems can be recovered efficiently. Plans should be updated regularly to reflect changes in the infrastructure and evolving business requirements.
Control access to sensitive information
Keeping tight controls regarding access to sensitive data resources minimizes the potential damage caused by human error or insider attacks. Companies should consider a zero trust approach to security where every action needs to be authenticated and verified. Teams need to guard against providing elevated privileges that can result in data breaches.
Migrate to the cloud to address multiple concerns
Migrating an IT environment to the cloud can help resolve many issues. The virtually limitless resources of public cloud providers alleviate traditional capacity problems. The cloud also offers access to emerging technologies that may be impossible to implement in an on-premises data center.
Let experts manage your IT environment
Managed service providers (MSPs) with experience in your industry can address all of these IT risks and challenges. Leveraging the knowledge and technical expertise of an MSP frees up an organization to focus on its core business objectives.
Engage a Second Set of Eyes for Your IT Environment
Prescient Solutions is a managed IT services partner offering businesses a second set of eyes to help minimize a company’s risks and challenges. They can conduct the infrastructure and security assessments required to identify opportunities for improving and enhancing your environment. Fresh eyes can often find issues that were missed in previous evaluations.
Prescient can help implement the processes and procedures necessary to maximize the value of a company’s IT infrastructure. They can assist in migrating to the cloud, improving cybersecurity, or developing a disaster recovery plan. Their IT support teams can efficiently manage your cloud or on-premises IT environment. Prescient understands the importance of IT to your business and helps your company optimize its benefits.