Assessing risk when upgrading IT systems

Managed IT services

What is risk in IT?

All businesses have some element of risk and many managers’ decisions are based upon this risk, balancing it against the potential reward.

In IT, risks can occur in a number of places, such as servers failing, or viruses leading to vulnerable data. However, despite the huge negative implications IT risks can have on businesses, it is often something that gets overlooked by internal decision makers. Instead, many companies choose to outsource their risk assessment to technical specialists.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the risks that you may face, so you know what to be looking out for.

Risks in upgrading

IT is a key element to many businesses and it has in turn dramatically changed the way companies do business. However, with IT come a number of opportunities and threats which managers need to monitor and address.

Here are a number of risk factors that you should consider:

  • Security
    When a new system is set up, it’s important to make sure that there is sufficient IT security in place to make sure all your information, data, hardware, applications and documents are kept safe at all times.
  • User Accounts
    Make sure each user understands the new systems and security. Previously, a user would only be able to access the system from their work desktop, however, with cloud computing now becoming common place, it is possible to access systems from any device, anywhere in the world. It is therefore important to refresh staff on security and best practices, such as logging out after use, not sharing their password with anyone and updating passwords on a regular basis.
  • System Usage
    There is a risk when upgrading to a new system that staff do not adapt to the new systems very well. However, with IT, there is a steep learning curve and if a process is put in place to help teach users how to use the system correctly and efficiently, then this will help to alleviate any problems and worries.
  • Down Time
    Another risk to the business when moving over to a new system is the potential down-time when the old system finally switches over to the new system. Any time where employees cannot work is a loss to the company and therefore should be avoided where possible. However, this may not be an option when upgrading a system and so therefore, proper planning is required to reduce the impact on work and productivity as much as possible.
  • Untested Technology
    Before implementing a new system, it is important to have done your research. Changing your IT infrastructure is a big step and so it is important that you move to the right system for your company which is reliable and provides everything that you need.

Dealing with change

Technology is advancing at a very rapid pace making it difficult to keep up. Although you may have reviewed your existing infrastructure for risks, if you’re looking to upgrade your system, you will need to review any new changes. Whether you’re setting up a new server, moving to the cloud or installing new software, it is important for managers to review the risks before making any change. This will help to make sure that the rewards out-weight the risks.

It’s important that you think about all of these issues before moving ahead and implementing a new system. You should also put a process in place to deal with any issues that may occur further down the line.