Costa Koutakis
Costa Koutakis Executive Head: Enterprise

When you think about managing risk, you’re likely to envision insurance or investments. From a technology perspective, mitigating IT risk usually happens after the fact.

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Your system is breached so you have to put up a firewall to prevent it from happening again. A disgruntled employee steals sensitive corporate information, so you screen employees more stringently. Or your network crashes, so you bolster your disaster recovery efforts.

Clearly, adopting this kind of disorganised is no way to run a business in 2018,  especially given the current IT risk and cybersecurity landscape. If you’re keen to improve your IT risk management, it’s important to start by classifying the different risks.

A business’s operational risks include all the risks associated with its daily activities, including processes, people and systems.

Some common IT/technology risks include:

  • Security risks – When data is accessed, changed or used by an unauthorised party.
  • Availability risk – When a system failure or natural disaster makes applications or corporate data inaccessible.
  • Performance risk – Caused by poor system architecture or inefficient code, a performance risk diminishes business efficiency and productivity.
  • Compliance risk – When the processing, storage and handling of information fails to meet regulatory or IT governance policy requirements.

If you’re a CIO and are keen to minimise your risk, here are some key suggestions to get you started.

Make a list and rank risks according to potential cost

Take some time to identify the main risks that could affect your organisation. Different projects present different risks so be sure to think about all of the work you are doing. Once you’ve made this list, take some time to rate these IT risks according to how much they could potentially cost your business. These are merely estimates, but they form the basis for where to focus your attention from a risk management perspective.

Pricing estimates

With your list of risks and potential costs, it’s time to do some research on how much improving your current situation will cost. Part of this cost estimate should include factors such as staff availability, implementation and training time, as well as the rands and cents of the purchasing of new hardware and IT solutions. Some mitigations are straightforward and others are more complex. In some cases, you may find that the cost of boosting your security or business continuity efforts is greater than your estimated potential loss in a disaster.

Continuous planning

It’s essential to realise that the work is never done. Once you’ve increased your risk management, you’ll need to keep relooking  it and planning for the future because the landscape is always evolving. Risks change constantly, so fresh approaches and strategies need to be considered regularly.

If the idea of handling all of this gives you sleepless nights, you may want to consider calling in the professionals. To help you make your decisions, take a look at our guide on outsourcing, which explains why this approach to your IT infrastructure makes good business sense. You can download it here

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