Tip of the Week: Evaluating and Assessing Risk
Whenever you decide to implement something in your information technology strategy, you accept some level of risk. Understanding and managing this risk is crucial to your business’ success. For this week’s tip, we’ll review how to manage your IT risks and what your options are.
Understanding IT Risks
Your risk management is a very important balance to strike - not only will it allow you to prepare for potential issues preemptively, you can also take the opportunity to reconsider your plans if the impending risks are greater than you’re comfortable with. After all, if adopting a solution ultimately hurts your productivity or overall success, it can hardly be considered a solution, can it?
This is precisely why risk management is a critical process for any business that plans to be successful.
How to Successfully Manage Your IT Risks
Like any business process, risk management has a few steps that should be followed in order for an optimal outcome to be attained. These steps can be summarized with the acronym PEARS: Predict, Evaluate, Arrange, React, and Scrutinize.
In order to properly prepare for one of your risks, you have to see it coming. Commit some time to consider which risks are the most probable, and at what point the associated issues are likely to arise.
Once you have narrowed down your risks to the most probable, you should estimate the impact each would have. Are they potentially cataclysmic, or would they result in minor annoyances?
With these impacts in mind, you need to order your risks in order of their severity (and resultantly, their priority) so you can address the most important ones first. At this point, you can devise a strategy to approach them, which we’ll review in more depth later.
At this point, you are prepared for your hypothetical risks to become reality. If they do, you need to stick to the plan you have made thus far. There are a few different ways that you can approach this:
- Avoidance - You could simply decide to take the steps necessary to avoid the risk, with little regard to the costs of doing so. While applying safeguards is often an effective way of avoiding a given risk, it is usually resource-intensive to rely on as your only method of risk management.
- Reduction - Similar to avoidance, this method entails the use of your resources to circumvent risk. However, instead of eliminating the risks entirely, this approach is geared more towards making risks more easily managed and less impactful.
- Transference - You may have the option to shift the risk to an area that can better handle it or finds it less risky. This might be another department in your business, or a solutions provider who is more experienced in handling such matters.
- Acceptance - This strategy relies on you to have the foresight to accept that risks are possible. The idea here is to not be caught by surprise when a risk materializes so that you can better handle it in the moment.
After your particular risk has passed, you should evaluate how well your preparations did in reducing the resulting impacts. Were your mitigations effective, and how could they be improved for the next time?
Directive Can Help with Your IT Risks
As a managed service provider, we’ve had a lot of experience with IT risks and mitigating them. We can help you identify your risks and determine the best ways to address them. Combining the processes described above with our expertise, we’ll find the solution that suits your particular business needs.
Give us a call at 607.433.2200 for more information.