Risky Business: The IT risks you should be aware of

Risky Business: The IT risks you should be aware of

No matter how much we’d like to avoid them, IT risks are simply impossible to eliminate completely. As long as your company uses computers and network systems for key business activities, dealing with some risks is inevitable.

However, by carefully planning ahead and taking preventive measures, you can greatly reduce the IT risks your company faces. In many cases, you can also improve your business performance as the solutions tend to add reliability and stability to your technology systems.

You’re probably wondering about the kinds of IT risks you should be aware of and safeguard against. Here are some of the ones your company needs to watch out for.

Data loss
This is every company’s worst nightmare. There are all kinds of reasons your data can go missing, including hardware being damaged, hackers breaking into your system, and a natural disaster destroying servers. The risk of lost or stolen data is especially high for small- and medium-sized businesses that don't have a proper disaster recovery plan in place.

We cannot stress this enough: Backups are the foundation of any sound data recovery strategy. If something were to happen to your servers, you can rest assured your data would be safe and secure in an off-site storage. Cloud technology in particular has made backup storage and restoration easier and more cost-efficient than ever.

Network downtime
When your network systems go down, your business suffers greatly. Your employees can’t work, your clients are dissatisfied, and repair costs add up fast.

One of the best ways to minimize disruptions is to make sure your in-house IT personnel or an outsourced IT provider is constantly monitoring your systems. By eliminating small problems before they escalate, the risks of equipment failure, downtime, and expensive maintenance fees will be greatly diminished.

Compliance violation
As your company expands, so do your IT-related obligations. Failure to comply with these regulations will not only leave your business exposed to threats, but also legal trouble. This risk is easily minimized by taking the right steps toward achieving compliance.

For starters, you can use a policy management software or corporate intranet to track and record compliance updates. The key is to make policies readily available and easily accessible for your staff so that whenever they do have questions, they can refer to the documents housed in a central location.

The next step is to deliver policy change updates to ensure organization-wide awareness. We recommend using an automated system, so it’s easy to track who received the email about a new or updated policy, who read it, and who completed the compliance certification.

Human error
While investment in cyberattack defense and detection tools is an essential component of building an effective security strategy, the reality is that most breaches can be traced back to human error. Typical employee cybersecurity mistakes are associated with weak password settings, careless data handling, insecure web browsing, use of pirated software, and general unawareness about potential threats and the best ways to prevent them.

You can substantially reduce the likelihood for human error causing a data security incident by granting users the least amount of access they need to do their job. It’s also prudent to conduct security awareness training programs to educate your staff to recognize, report, and respond to potential security incidents.

At the end of the day, the less IT risk your business is exposed to, the more likely it is to prosper. That’s because service interruptions and the expenses they bring about are a lot less likely to happen. You’ll also dodge potential legal issues and the headaches and costly fines that come with them.

Need help understanding how IT risk affects your company? USWired offers a risk assessment that reveals the weak points in your technology infrastructure. We also provide guidance on how to prepare your enterprise for emerging cyberthreats and data breaches. Contact us today for more information.