IT risk

Category : | Posted : Oct 28, 2011

Technology helps us do what we do faster and easier. We get a new computer that runs 30% faster than our old one. We get some new, fancy piece of software that cuts our efforts in half. Most see this as good stuff.

Flipping that around, some view a lack of technology simply as a marginal, unimportant reduction in efficiencies. Their old computer is running a little slow or they have an old version of software that is marginally more cumbersome than the latest and greatest. They aren’t too worried about it.

Smart Dolphins takes a more proactive approach to managing our clients’ technology. To some prospects, they see our approach as simply improving efficiencies and this is an underwhelming proposition.

Fear the Black Swan.

What does a lost sale cost? What about the cost of losing the life of the sales from one permanently lost customer (not to mention that poisonous-word-of-mouth)? What about a frustrated, long-standing employee going to your competitor who has reliable IT? What about the disaster of losing all your financial data? Are there IT risks that could be prevented?

Nobody anticipates this type of thing happening, but it happens regularly. Again, the Black Swan strikes.

I don’t want to be a fear monger, but I also see a lot of shortsightedness from a lack of awareness of the risks of under-investment in IT infrastructure. The problem is most can get away with it. Some don’t. A lot of us will never need car insurance, but a significant percentage of us will REALLY need it at some point. The problem is, we don’t know which of us needs it beforehand. Our inability to assess our risks of needing car insurance is the logic behind making car insurance legally mandatory. IT insurance should be mandatory too.

We’re also lulled into feeling like our IT problems are always solvable. We are fed a historical pattern of minor nuisances that don’t truly “cost” much or anything. We just need our tech support pro to hurry up and make it go away while we stay busy filing that neglected paperwork. We are trained into thinking computer problems are just annoying.

Even people that go through the pain of a major and very costly network outage or data loss tend to repeat the pattern. They think the event was just a freak problem or the fault of an incompetent tech. Lightning can’t strike twice (and certainly not three times)! It doesn’t occur to them that their overall view of technology is flawed and that the root of the problem is their decision to under-invest in their business’ technology.

Humans are not very good at assessing risks and making rational decisions. If we were, we wouldn’t smoke, speed, eat poorly or underinvest in our IT.

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