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Managing IT risk is easy, but it's important. Let's take a closer look at some of the types of risks that organizations are facing. There are a range of both internal and external risks, all of which may have both direct and indirect impacts on a business.

Two potential areas of risk include security and compliance. For example, security breaches, such as viruses or network intrusions are well-known and easily identifiable security risks for almost all companies and networks. But security risks also include the theft of data from internal sources, its use or alternation by unauthorized personnel (this can quickly become a large compliance problem) and other types of data alternation, deletion or copying.

Compliance is a risk that has received a huge amount of attention over the past few years, as organizations strive to meet new regulatory requirements and enable faster, more efficient audits of all types of business processes. From an IT risk perspective, organizations need to worry not only about simply being able to meet regulatory and compliance requirements, but also about the management of data or information that might violate regulatory requirements.

In addition, organizations continue to face a range of other potential risks within their IT environments. They need to ensure recoverability, so that when something does go wrong, the systems, data and operations resources can be back on line as soon as possible. They need to provide for availability, to make sure that the appropriate data and resources are available as needed-anything that interferes with availability of systems poses a potential risk to the organization. Risk can also be related to performance, where systems or data are available, but not in a timely enough manner. Lastly, organizations also face risks related to scalability-where they can't scale systems, applications or business processes as quickly as they need to meet changing or new business requirements.

An important part of building a risk mitigation plan is to understand the impact of the different types of events or risks that an organization can encounter. In addition, each of the risks should be quantified in some way, as best possible. In many cases, it can be difficult to quantify the exact impact of different problems, but frequently the impacts can be grouped into different classes of severity. Where possible, make sure to consider both the direct and indirect impact of a problem. For example, a performance problem that impacts data access may result in a compliance risk if appropriate data isn't logged or tracked. Organizations attempting to manage risks need to not only identify the different potential risks, but their direct and indirect implications for an organization from a variety of factors, including financial, resources, reputation, legal and other.


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