Thought Leadership

Learn about how technology can lead the way to solving problems in your business

Why Should I Care About IT Risks to My Business?

Why Should I Care About IT Risks to My Business?

As a business leader we have put a lot of time, effort and money into building our businesses. We have taken on financial risks, made enormous sacrifices to try and live a better life. For some of us, after years of hard work, we finally achieve success. Not that we have built a sustainable business that supports the lifestyle we have grown to appreciate the last thing we want to do is put that at risk. Unfortunately, many business owners miscalculate their IT related risk and end up paying for it.

What drives us to make bad decisions around IT risk?

For a business to succeed you need to have profit. Which means you need to grow revenue, and you need to minimize expenses to get there. Spending money to protect yourself from an event that may never happen is an easy place to make a cut. My personal opinion is that this strategy makes sense when you are first starting your business but as your business matures and you have something worth protecting is a terrible idea.

Business Leaders don't need to understand IT but they do NEED to Educate themselves on the IT related risks to their business and ensure that their is accountability and audit ability within their IT department.

Now, I am guessing that if you own and operate a business in this day and age that you are using some form of information technology and software to operate your business. Your email systems, telephones, Internet, customer relationship management software, accounting systems... etc etc. When those systems are down your business is likely not very productive at all. Which results in upset customers, frustrated staff and ultimately a loss of revenue and profitability.

Now imagine, in the course of 5 minutes somebody accidentally clicked on an email and instantly all of that was gone. Productivity halts. Everybody is looking at each other wondering what the heck is going on. The IT guys are called to fix the issue. You've invested tens of thousands of dollars in backups. You have hired people to manage this task on your behalf.

Your probably feeling pretty comfortable that you have made these investments. What can go wrong?

Ask Yourself these questions?

  1. What is at stake for you if that backup system does not work as planned?
  2. What is at stake for you if that person does not do their job as expected?
  3. How confident are you that the person or company responsible to ensure you are protected actually cares?
  4. What is at stake for them if they don't do their job?

Two things can happen in this situation.

  1. Your IT guys are prepared and they restore your system. (Maybe not as fast as you like but that is likely your fault and I'll address that later)
  2. You lost some or all of your information and its likely to be a painful feeling.

If you are sitting in the #1 camp. Good for you. Hopefully you have a good understanding of your critical systems, how long it takes to recover those systems, how much information you can afford to lose before it becomes a problem and it wasn't the result of luck.

If you are sitting in the #2 camp. You likely have that nauseating feeling at this point that can only be caused by gambling your entire livelihood away on a 50/50 chance bet.. I would guess that you are sitting in the number 2 camp. You are probably sitting on the edge of your seat, contacting your IT guy every 30 minutes wondering if and when things will be back up and running.

Lets put this event into perspective.

If this event results in you being unable to recover your computer systems.

  • Chances are your business is not going to be in business much longer.
  • Your source of income has been impacted and your life is going to change.
  • If you have secured debt, you are still going to be on the hook for it.
  • Your employees, they will be fine. They are going to find new jobs.
It will never happen to me. The words I hear from every business owner. Then it happens, experience is gained, money is lost, and if they are able to stick around. Make the necessary changes to ensure that never happens again.

Over the next few posts, I am going to walk you through a sound strategy for protecting your business from unplanned risks. We are going to look at answering the questions:

  1. What is the value of the information I am protecting?
  2. What is the cost of downtime in terms of lost productivity and revenue?
  3. What is my cost to recover?
  4. How do I bring accountability and visibility into this process to ensure my business is protected?
  5. How do I evaluate different backup services and solutions?
  6. Should I outsource this process to another company that specializes in this type of service?
  7. Do I have the right insurance coverage for my business?

Ultimately, as a business owner. You must be 100% absolutely confident that you understand your risks and are confident in the choices you make. You must have confidence in the people running these processes on your behalf and have protections in place to