Information Technology Risk Management for Small Businesses

Information technology has made it possible for small businesses to connect to customers, employees, and business partners all over the world.  It also enables businesses to expedite the communication and sharing of products, services, and information. However, along with this expediency, usefulness, and convenience, comes exposure to technology risks. And small businesses are particularly vulnerable, since they don’t always have the financial or staffing resources to develop a system of protection that perhaps larger companies do. This is all the more reason to have an information technology risk management for small businesses system in place.

Typical Information Technology Risks

  • Cybersecurity threats aim to comprise your business data and information. Hackers, virusus, malware, and phishing expeditions are all examples of how your information network can fall victim to a fraudulent electronic threat.
  • Physical threats can result from physical damage or unauthorized access to information technology resources, such as computers and servers. Damage from fire or flood or theft are examples of IT compromises as a result of a physical threat.
  • Technology failure such as a hard drive failure, computer crash, or software bug can be destructive, especially if the failure resulting in a loss of critical data. If your server goes down or you lose internet connectivity, you could miss a potentially lucrative purchase order.
  • User errors can occur when someone fails to follow proper security procedure or accidentally deletes critical data.

Information Technology Risk Reduction

Ideally, you should attempt to identify the risks faced by your small business and take steps to reduce their probability of occurring. Once risks are identified, put controls in place to secure your systems and data that will mitigate risks. Implementing network and email security policies and procedures and using firewalls and anti-virus software are a few ways to help mitigate your IT security risks.

Information Technology Risk Management

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to prevent every IT risk, which means it’s wise to have other measures in place to mitigate risks. For example, what will you do if a hacker gets into your system and retrieves customer data. Do you have cyber liability insurance in place to cover the costs of security breaches? What happens if your server crashes and your operations come to a halt? Do you have business interruption insurance to get you through this down time?
Lastly, one of the most important information technology risk management for small businesses tools is to have a business continuity plan in place before the event happens. A small business continuity plan is a road map to carry on operations despite adverse conditions, such as a security breach or technical failure.