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James Bond—otherwise known as 007—likes taking risks. In books and movies, living on the edge and pushing danger to the limit is what takes to get his “job” done.

However, it’s another story when it comes to corporate IT. Putting James Bond in charge of IT risk management would probably not be a wise decision by a corporate hiring manager. And with today’s regulatory and compliance environment, it’s a move that might even bring trouble to a company’s board of directors.

Luckily, as far as I know, no companies have so far offered Mr. Bond a cushy desk job in IT—whether it’s a regular old IT management job or a potentially more natural job as an IT risk management director. That’s a good thing—I think we can all feel safer, and perhaps more entertained, with Mr. Bond continuing to pursue his current career calling.

For the rest of us, though, IT risk management is an increasingly important part of the corporate world. As we’re too well aware of, the risks that organizations, corporate applications and corporate data face are greater than they ever have been before. While we’ve had security measures, intrusion detection, anti-virus and other security and threat-management technologies available for years, the need for organizations to take a rational and strategic approach to IT risk management has never been higher.

Of course, we still face the same type of basic hardware and software failures that we’ve faced in the past, though customers, supply chains and business timetables are less forgiving than ever before when problems do happen. But we’ve also seen a dramatic rise in the importance of planning for compliance and auditing requirements and managing the risks associated with potential breaches of security. Over the years, organizations have grown ever more dependant on their IT systems and ready access to data, so that any interruption—from access to email to order entry systems—quickly becomes a critical and significant event.

Part of the reason is that disruptions to IT systems have become increasingly visible—to everyone from customers to partners to auditors. Small failures such as a security breach can cascade into important business crisis that can damage reputations, create compliance liabilities, and impact business.

Not only is the anticipation of potential problems important, but the speed with which an organization can recover from problems when they do occur is critical. How fast can you get an important server back up and functioning if it’s brought down by a hardware failure? How fast can you failover to a hot site if one of your data centers is off line. How quickly can you get your traders back up and trading if your main office building (and all their specialized trading systems) is hit by an unexpected power failure? The faster you can recover from incidents like these, the less impact they have on the business.


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