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The Criticality of IT Risks

IT Risks should always be taken seriously, there has been a significant amount of information and attention around this topic the last several years.   IT Risks have become pervasive and have crossed the boundaries between various industries. The sudden onslaught of IT Risks has become a problem for not only IT people in the organization but also senior management who fear the security risks, reduced productivity due to outages, increased costs on fixing IT issues as they occur and important data theft or loss.

What is an IT Risk?

Anything that can potentially harm the information system within a company leading to loss of confidentiality and/or efficiency. These threats can be external or internal.

Let us take a few examples:

  • A security incident results in theft or breach of customer data resulting in legal liability, reputational damage and compliance issues and data loss.
  • Servers fail based on improper maintenance, lack of a patch management program and no effective Disaster Recovery.        
  • There are a lack of controls, more specifically IT Processes, especially a lack of Configuration and Change Management.
  • Outages occur because there is no redundancy in the infrastructure or it’s an aged device that lacks proper lifecycle management.
  • Extended outages can occur because the documentation and configuration information are not current and have not been for some time and/or is not even accessible.
  • There are never enough IT resources to responsibly manage all the work that has become unscalable.
  • A technology project goes over budget and fails to meet goals set out in its business case and proper ongoing management plans are insufficient.

If you investigate the repercussions of these risks, IT Risk Management seems to be a managerial function more than a technical one. This risk needs to be minimized but too often a company will allocate the least resources possible.

Handling these risks as they come is an expensive and strenuous affair. Handing over the entire problem into the hands of experienced MSPs is not only cost-effective but also leads to increased productivity and efficiency. The responsibility of protection from IT Risks is shared between the MSP and the company itself. A qualified MSP follows a framework for both IT Processes and Cybersecurity such as CIS Standards for secure configurations and the MSPs sole function is to mitigate these risks with quality preventative controls and if a breach does in fact occur, they are therefore equipped to deal with the breach. 

Be careful as NOT all MSPs are the same.  The industry is in fact often misrepresented and assumptions are made about the choice of the MSP.  Be sure and follow due diligence and your provider should be well vetted, they should also undergo annual audits such as an SSAE audit.  A management team may focus on internal handling of these risks or delegate the work to the experts according to the resources available with them, but they cannot ignore the repercussions attached to these risks. A proper risk management system will not only help the business reduce their losses but also ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency of their IT assets which will drive greater profits!

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