IT risk management by definition is to balance economic and operational costs related to using protective measures to achieve nominal gains to support an organisation’s operations. It includes hardware and software failure, human error, spam, viruses and malicious attacks, as well as natural disasters such as fires, cyclones or floods. This risk is present in almost every business and data has become the new gold for organisations. Possession or a lack of it can make or break a company and would be a major setback.
A very real and recent example of data loss is where a supermarket chain lost credit card information and personal details of almost 40 million customers across the United States. Business owners have legal obligations in relation to privacy, electronic transactions and staff training that influence IT risk management strategies.
The IT scope has evolved from just being hardware, networks and storage of information to include a company’s operations from data storage to administrative tasks and everything in between. An organisation’s dependence on IT has increased the risk. The storage of data has moved from independent servers to the cloud, making it easier to access from anywhere, the downside is that data is accessible to people who aren’t part of the company. Employees create a risk when they are not able to work for a certain length of time on projects risking and creating operational threats such as malfunctioning IT systems, improper records etc. These factors are ubiquitous and prevalent, and create a risk probability that dents the projects profitability. A common counteractive measure is the use of managed IT services or outsourcing IT, reducing the risk a company has to face and also increasing the profits.
Every organisation has its own challenges and these risks can be managed to a large extent.
First by prognosticating the discovery of each risk and assessing for severity, in order to be able to understand and prepare.
Then by mitigating, putting counteractive measure in place to ensure the impact of the risk is at its minimum.
Lastly by evaluating and assessing the counteractive measures and their effectiveness in warding off or minimising risk. This would help finding out what actions should be taken to improve, change or stick with the current plans. The cost effectiveness of the measures should be taken into account.
It is important to have strategies in place, in advance, to manage threats. They are as follows:
Transferring the threat to another party
Avoiding the threat
Reducing the negative effect of the risk or probability of the threat, or even accepting some or all of the potential or actual consequences of a particular threat
Having IT risk management strategies particular to a company’s requirements is the need of the hour and the sooner such strategies are implemented the better.