Most businesses rely on software, whether it’s for bookkeeping, record retention, or for day to day operations. This dependency on software systems introduces elements of technical risk, but, fortunately, there are things business owners can do to manage their risks, like conducting a risk assessment.
A periodic technical risk assessment combined with continuous monitoring of your software systems is the key to maintaining a thriving business. We’ll explain why below.
Your Business’s Software and Technical Risk Assessments
Routine technical risk assessments keep your potential consequences low; you should use them to monitor your business’s software. You should be able to tell through these risk assessments when your system is a risk to your business.
For example, keeping old software around without updating it can be a costly error for your business. This will expose your system to faults, viruses, malware, hackers, ransomware and other risks.
Also, if you run your software on an older operating system, the manufacturer may not support that version anymore. They won’t send the necessary protection measures or the upgrades your system requires to run at peak performance.
You can see examples of this phenomenon with Windows products. Every Windows product you purchase has a support cycle attached to it. When this cycle reaches the end date, Windows will stop protection measures to encourage an upgrade to the latest version.
On the other end of the spectrum, you might not have any risks to your systems or any reason to switch them out. If not, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your system is up to date and secure.
Either way, a technical risk assessment is one way to help you decide whether or not it’s time to upgrade your software or switch to a new system to streamline your processes and lower your overall risks.
A Risk Assessment Will Tell You If It’s Time to Update Your Security Measures
When was the last time you updated your security system? What year did it come out? If you can’t remember, it’s most likely time to update or upgrade. If you notice your system isn’t as responsive as it was or if it goes off without a security risk present, a risk assessment can help you determine the cause and risks.
Have you considered having a new system in place that will stay on in the event of a power failure? Will it keep your building secure against break-ins?
When you perform a technical risk assessment, you’re checking up your entire security system. It zeroes on areas that aren’t performing as well as they should, whether this is from damage, wear and tear or outdated software. This assessment will highlight any priority areas that need your immediate attention.
At the end of the risk assessment, you’ll get two results called conditions and consequences. The technical risk assessment determines your system’s condition based on data and you would use this condition to find out what is wrong with your system.
In this instance, you would see outdated cameras or monitoring systems and a lack of support. The consequences are what could happen if you don’t address these conditions like camera failure, data corruption, glitches and crashes.
To avoid catastrophic failure, running periodic technical risk assessments in Australia is essential. Your business’s in-house security team could do this for you, or you can hire outside your company to complete it.
Technical Risk Assessments Can Help You Avoid Falling Into Technical Debt
Technical debt is a common concept in the programming world. When someone talks about technical debt, they’re referring to the process of implementing short-term code instead of looking for a long-term solution. The technical debt arises when the business then has to invest in additional software development to turn their short-term solution into a long-term one.
For example, a hospital had a choice between two software systems that would digitize their patient records and streamline patient care. One system was more well known but more expensive and the other system was local and less costly.
The business decided to go with the local system to save some money. However, ten years down the line, the local system is unreliable, clunky and outdated. The hospital now has to spend more money to upgrade to the system they skipped over a decade ago. This is technical debt.
Another example would be structural damage to your building. A quick fix would involve you patching it with something and sheet rocking or painting over it. This quick fix would be an example of a short-term solution.
The long-term solution would be bringing in professionals to replace the damaged structure and putting steps in place to ensure the damage doesn’t spread. The long-term option will cost more and it’ll take longer from start to finish. However, it’ll save having to deal with the damage getting worse or compromising other areas of the house.
A technical risk assessment would point out the short-term solutions and the problems that could arise. In turn, it can help you avoid going into technical debt. Additionally, risk assessments can help you start thinking in the long-term for your business instead of short-term. You’ll start reducing your risks right away and learning strategies to prevent problems from snowballing into emergencies.
You can then take what you learn and apply it to other areas of your business. For example, technical risk assessments are popular when you decide whether or not you want to launch a new project. You’ll be able to outline the risks, determine whether or not they’re worth the potential rewards and outline what you need to do to mitigate them.