Managing IT Risk: Effective Strategies for Small Businesses

Profit may be at the forefront of an entrepreneur’s mind, but the potential long-term cost of foregoing an IT risk management program far outweighs the initial investment. Once you’ve identified the IT risks specific to your organization, consider the following strategies to save time and money in the long run.

  • Develop a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Neither server crashes nor natural disasters should impede business continuity for long. Ensuring that your organization has comprehensive, hardcopy documentation of all business critical IT processes will minimize potential economic loss and disruption to your networks and operations. Be sure that your plan encompasses methods to prevent, anticipate, and mitigate any undesirable IT incidents. Spending the time on a recovery plan now will ensure you spend less cash after an incident later.
  • Train, learn, grow. Human error is one of the leading causes of security breaches. Training employees on safe Internet, email, and desktop practices will help prevent your organization from falling prey to malicious attacks, such as phishing and malware. To reinforce training, provide continuing education, such as newsletters and videos, and rewards for implementing good security practices. Informed employees are much less likely to make mistakes that cost the business valuable resources.
  • Find resources. As a small business, you may not be able to invest in the latest (and most expensive) training or mentoring programs, but there are ways to learn about effective IT risk management for free or at a very low cost. Try SCORE for mentoring and further education or the U.S. Small Business Administration’s local assistance tool to find resources in your area.