Manage the Many IT Risks That Can Threaten Business Growth
For a business to grow, it needs to take risks. A growing business increases its dependency on IT, and the risks to the business if IT fails grow, too. IT needs a strategy to manage its own risks in order to minimize threats to the business.
Many Kinds of IT Risks
There are several different kinds of IT threats. These include:
• Security failures
Security failures include malware, viruses, and phishing attacks that result in data breaches. Denial of service attacks, if not blocked, overload systems.
• Device failure
Hardware components can simply break down.
• Software failure
Applications can fail, either because they aren’t compatible with a system change or because unexpected data causes application errors.
• Network failure
When network links are overloaded, performance can suffer to the point where systems are unusable; if network links go down, devices and applications can become totally inaccessible.
• Data loss
Data can be lost through theft; it can be deleted or corrupted either accidentally or deliberately; or a storage device failure can make data inaccessible.
External incidents, such as storms and power outages, can cause systems to go down or make the work facility inaccessible to employees.
• Changing technology
Even if all devices and software continue to work perfectly, failing to integrate new technology can limit the business’ competitiveness.
• Regulatory requirements
IT teams need to meet a broad scope of legal and regulatory requirements surrounding data protection, with potentially severe consequences if found out of compliance.
• Staffing limitations
Retaining IT staff with experience, expertise, and commitment to the business is difficult when there’s as great demand for IT personnel as there is today.
Managing IT Risks
There’s a way to get these risks under control: implement and follow a risk management process. In broad outline, the process should include these steps:
1. Risk identification
You can’t control a risk if you don’t know it exists. Risk identification requires exploring your IT assets, processes, human resources, and business demands in order to identify the risks that could impact your business.
2. Risk analysis
If risk identification reveals a long list of risks, it can be overwhelming and feel like nothing can be done. Risk analysis helps you determine which risks are the most likely and have the most severe consequences. Knowing that lets you know where you should direct your risk mitigation efforts first, creating a prioritized list of risks.
3. Risk management
With the risks identified and prioritized, you can create a plan that manages the risk: eliminates it, reduces it, and/or creates a plan to react if the hypothetical risk becomes a real event.
Because neither the business nor the IT environment is static, this isn’t a linear process that you step through and complete. It’s an ongoing cycle of identifying, evaluating, addressing, and monitoring risks to ensure the business remains protected at all times.
Prescient Solutions’ risk management services help Chicago and Schaumburg-area businesses identify their IT risks and develop strategies to address them. Contact us to learn how you can reduce the IT risks facing your business.