In our last article, we looked into how to drive efficiency with information technology as well as its benefits. As technology continues to advance and companies embrace the transformation that comes with information technology, they must also be aware of the pending risks associated with it. Today, we examine some of the risks associated with integrating information technology into a business's core operations.
Information technology has penetrated deep into the personal and corporate world. In the same way, the exposure to the risk associated with technology has also increased over time.
In a company, these risks are capable of disrupting the entire operation if they are not properly handled.
What are the risks associated with technology integration in the workplace?
Generally, risks are considered as the possibility of something wrong happening. However, when it comes to information technology, risks can represent security threats posed to a business, its components, information, system and processes, for example, phishing, hacking, data loss, security outages. The most prominent technology risk for both small and large companies is data and privacy breach.
To further understand the risks associated with information technology in the workplace, it is important to understand the internal and external factors that may trigger them in the first place.
These are activities within the company that may directly or indirectly expose the company to risks associated with technology.
Individual actions: people within a company (usually the employees) may indirectly be involved in increasing exposure to risk through their activities/actions or nonchalant behaviour when handling sensitive information or the company’s hardware. On the other hand, risk exposure may be the result of a deliberate act on the part of the employees, such as fraud, sabotage, vandalism and theft.
Inadequate internal processes: these types of risks occur when a proper structure is not established within the company to protect it from direct or indirect threats, for example, a responsive system for reporting suspicious activities or an automatic system shutdown when a software component is compromised.
These are activities that pose threats to security systems (IT) and usually are beyond the control of the company, for instance, the occurrence of a natural disaster, cyber-attacks or activities arising from other service providers.
How to manage workplace IT-related risks
Technology-related risks in the workplace are sometimes inevitable as many components and factors could be behind them. However, there are specific actions that can be taken to minimise risks. Precautionary measures taken will differ from company to company depending on the level of the technology integration being adopted and these include the following:
Identifying the risk
This involves searching for areas/functions within the company that may easily be compromised. A good way to go about this is to understand what exactly may be at risk, which in most cases are the company’s assets such as business data and hardware.
Analysing the risk
Upon the successful identification of risk factors, both within and outside the company, the next step would be to analyse them and assess the impact they may have on operations. Ranking in terms of priority will help the company streamline what measures to invest in.
Developing a business continuity plan
In a situation where a risk cannot be avoided or controlled, a business continuity plan should be in place to ensure mitigating actions can be implemented rapidly. The essence of a business continuity plan is to make sure the company does not lose time, resources and revenues when a component is down.
Monitoring and evaluating the performance of risk management measures
Managing risk is a continuous activity that must be frequently reviewed to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
Other ways to reduce the occurrence of risk include:
Ensure employees understand and implement security standards when handling the company’s information, software and hardware. This can be achieved through training.
Frequently update software- Keeping software up to date will ensure security flaws are corrected.
Use strong passwords and enable two-step verifications for sites and applications. Keep these passwords safe and change them regularly.
In summary, threats associated with information technology may be inevitable but companies should seek to familiarize themselves with IT precautionary measures which must be incorporated as standard procedures.
We, at the OVAC Group, can analyse your business IT structure to discover areas that need improvement and provide insights on how to go about setting up the right security measures. Please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.