Manage IT risks with a risk management plan

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IT Risk managementEvery day a business faces various risks and threats to its IT systems. However, only a few consider IT risks among their top concerns. IT risk management activities are seen either as a compliance burden or an unnecessary cost. It’s important that businesses look at IT risk management not as an obstacle, but as a business enabler.

With the rapid rate of new technology adoption, it’s wise to regularly carry out risk assessments and develop strategies to safeguard your assets. Part of this is having a continuity and recovery plan which will ensure your business will recover quickly in the event of crisis.

IT risks can be classified as follows: 

  • Physical threats – These are those that result from physical access or damage to information resources such as servers, network equipment, PCs, etc. It’s easy to overlook this type of threat. However, all IT is exposed in some way to the threat of fire, water, vandalism or physical damage caused by other accidents e.g. moving equipment.
  • External threats  – These are your hackers and other malicious software that can wreak havoc in your system and compromise your security. Malicious threats can range from phishing and spoofing emails and websites, to links in social networking websites that take you to websites that can steal your personal and financial details. Hackers can gain remote control of your computers through infections by viruses, worms, or Trojans, turning them into ‘bots’.
  • Hardware failure  – Considered as a common threat for IT systems with the capability to cripple your business.  The truth is that all computers or hardware will eventually fail.  It’s important to mitigate your risks when it inevitably does happen.  For example, you might identify that you need to reduce your risks by sharing data across a number of server drives rather than have all your data stored on a single server drive should it fail.
  • Connection failure  – May not be an obvious threat, but equally important.  For example, if your business relies on your internet connection to receive orders from customers, you could miss out on new purchase orders if that connection fails. As the use of cloud software grows a stable internet connection becomes more important as key applications rely on an internet connection.
  • Human error  – We know that most data breaches are caused by human error. If an honest mistake by a staff member could cause an irrevocable loss of data, you need to take action to prevent it from happening. One solution is training new and existing staff in your IT policies, procedures and your codes of conduct. Your policies should be clear on the safe handling of infected email, protecting the privacy of customer details, priority actions in the event of an online security breach, among other things.  Another preventative measure is to have a good structure and management process for permissions, ensuring that staff only have access to what they need to and their permission levels are limited.  For example, tightly structure permissions around deleting files.

Allocate enough time, budget and resources when preparing for your IT risk management plan. Whilst those with existing IT risk management plans should regularly review them to ensure they accurately reflect current potential risks.

It’s impossible to remove all risk from a business, but it is important to assess and reduce risk to an acceptable level where possible. Keep in mind that your operations are highly dependent on the integrity of your IT systems. Commit to an ongoing process of upgrading, enhancing and testing your technology, so it can effectively meet your ever changing client requirements, industry and regulatory changes and internal needs for information management.

Strengthen your business today by contacting Centrix for an experienced IT consultation to help reduce your exposure to IT risks, as well as getting more information on any of our other IT outsourcing services in Sydney.