3 Ways to Prepare for a New Era of IT Risk

Enterprise risk management is a completely different animal in the digital era, and you have a lot more on your plate when it comes to identifying, assessing and mitigating the areas in which your organization can suffer loss and inefficiency. In the IT department alone, there is a seemingly endless stream of innovations and upgrades that you must account for when bringing your risk profile up to speed, not to mention the deep-seated implications of these services across the organization. Here are three ways to control the risks associated with next-gen infrastructure environments.

1. Put data in the right hands: By now, a substantial portion of your IT services are probably supported by off-premise environments in the form of SaaS, PaaS or even IaaS deployments. While cloud computing has received heavy criticism in the past for a perceived lack administrator control, you know the truth beneath the surface: The cloud is only as reliable as the IT vendors that manage these hosted environments. If you want to make the most of your off-premise investments, pick the best of the best when it comes to provisioning any cloud services.

According to an article from CIO Magazine, it's up to tech leaders like yourself to clear the air around the cloud and strengthen partnerships with reliable vendors.

"I am hopeful that we will witness an evolution in awareness of the various cloud options, and the benefits each will bring," said Marc Vael, international VP of ISACA. "This is paramount if we are to bridge the gap between realizing the business drivers to its adoption, balanced by the risk introduced from a security perspective."

2. Secure networks from all angles: It's no longer sufficient to install a firewall at the gateway of your VPN and hope for the best - cybercriminals now employ a variety of advanced tactics that can wreak havoc on even the most well-protected infrastructures. By preying on weak points with specialized malware, phishing techniques and SQL injections, there are countless ways in which your networks can fall victim to a devastating data breach. It's critical that you bolster your cybersecurity profile with dedicated solutions, especially if you allow employees to use their own devices to access key data.

"The growing deficiency of BYOD policy and management uncovered in this snapshot is astonishing, especially given the heightened threats of cybercrime and mobile security attacks," said Jason Hayman, TEKsystems market research manager, according to CIO Magazine. "The degree of exposure to risk is amplified by the fact that IT professionals and other employees are always connected, working from multiple devices from just about any location.

3. Bring an end to user confusion: Uneducated end users are some of the riskiest assets in any organization, and the less they know, the more likely you are to run into security mishaps and vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. Make sure that every IT initiative launched is supported by a corollary educational program that teaches end users the ins and outs of the new implementation. Focusing in on training is a great way to reduce the risk of user error while softening the steep learning curves often associated with brand new IT services.

Security education doesn't need to dive into graduate school depth when teaching employees about things like encryption and Wi-Fi best practices. Simply boosting awareness and accountability across the organization is enough to address many of the concerns that plague organizations today. At the federal level especially, it's crucial that you supplement your IT projects with plenty of training to ensure that you maximize the value of deployments and tackle risk head on.