IT leaders know they need to manage IT risk—but need help in execution

BrandPost By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software   
Aug 07, 20235 mins

Whether it’s a natural disaster, a hardware failure, or a cyberattack, IT leaders face myriad challenges when it comes to managing and mitigating IT risks.

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Credit: iStock/gilaxia

Organizations big and small, across every industry, need to manage IT risk. According to PurpleSec, cybercrimes worldwide will cost $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. The financial implications of a cyber breach are clear, but when a breach occurs, organizations also face a damaged reputation, customer loss, and distrust among their stakeholders.

Rocket Software recently surveyed 275 U.S.-based IT directors and vice presidents in companies with more than 1,000 employees to determine what keeps them up at night—and it comes as no surprise that one of their biggest nightmares is managing IT risk.

Technology professionals are taking a more proactive and less reactionary approach to how they manage risk and cybersecurity. But IT risk extends beyond cyberattacks by bad actors. Hardware or software failures, natural disasters, maintaining compliance, and even human error all pose threats to organizations’ IT health. According to Rocket Software’s survey, nearly half of respondents (42%) noted that they think about IT risk daily (31%) and even multiple times a day (11%). Sixty-three percent of IT leaders even measure success within their IT organization by their ability to reduce risk.

However, while IT leaders are worried about their risk posture, overall, they aren’t very confident in their organization’s ability to execute an approach to IT management based on the technology, processes, and people in their organizations. According to Rocket Software’s survey:

  • Only 33% of respondents are extremely confident that they have the right technology/software in place to execute an effective approach to IT risk management.
  • Only 34% of respondents are extremely confident they have the right processes in place to execute an effective approach to IT risk management.
  • Only 28% of respondents are extremely confident they have the right people in place to execute an effective approach to IT risk management.

To improve confidence, organizations need the right tools, processes, and people in place to effectively manage risk both on the mainframe and in the cloud. To help mitigate risk, respondents of Rocket Software’s survey found the three most popular processes and tools include data and system access (63%), data availability (62%), and process automation (47%). A whopping 13% of respondents don’t have tools deployed to mitigate risk at all.

Here are three crucial strategies that IT leaders can implement to monitor, manage, and mitigate risk in their organization:

Compliance and data privacy

Remaining compliant with regulatory guidelines and maintaining data privacy are of the utmost importance for organizations that want to remain competitive in today’s market and are crucial to mitigate IT risk. Fifty-one percent of respondents noted compliance as their organization’s current primary focus when it comes to data management.

To be compliant with regulatory frameworks and data privacy standards, organizations must understand which legislation they are required to follow. For organizations that offer digital services to their clients and collect their data, this includes data privacy regulations based on each customer’s location. Organizations risk hefty fines and damaged reputations if they do not abide by government regulations.

Organizations must also treat their data like an asset, not a liability. A business’s data is one of its most valuable assets, and organizations cannot maximize their data if it is carelessly locked up or unavailable to key employees. To avoid compliance issues and optimize the usefulness of data, organizations must consider what data they have, what kind of data it is, whose data it is, where the data is located, and the last time the data was audited or deleted.

Rocket Software Content Services enables companies to bridge mainframe, distributed, and cloud tools with a single technology fabric that unifies and governs critical business data and information.

Data and systems access, availability, and backup

Organizations need to be confident in knowing where their data came from and who has access to it. Data lineage, therefore, is crucial. Controlling data and system access, and using tools that are completely auditable, will help organizations mitigate risk, remain compliant, and keep their reputations intact. 

In addition, organizations need a solution to optimize data protection, starting with backups. Without backups, data assets cannot be recovered quickly in the event of an emergency like a cyberattack, natural disaster, or human error.

Process automation

Data quality, management, and compliance can be scaled with automation—which reduces IT risk tremendously. Automation is the linchpin for data and information modernization. Not only does automation achieve faster time-to-value and derive more value from data, but it mitigates compliance risks and costs. In addition, by implementing automation into processes and workflows and taking humans out of the equation, there’s less room for human error and therefore mitigates risk.

The importance of IT security—both on the mainframe and cloud—cannot be overstated. Mainframes are responsible for storing businesses’ most sensitive data and information – from financial records to trade secrets to customers’ personal information. Ignoring or deprioritizing mainframe security can jeopardize an organization’s entire digital transformation journey. As hybrid cloud solutions become even more popular to achieve digital transformation, mainframe systems will need to be ready to protect data in an on-premises environment and beyond.

Rocket Software enables IT leaders to protect their data and de-risk their organization. Through its recent acquisition of KRI Resources, Inc. Rocket Software’s mainframe security capabilities enables its customers to address their mainframe infrastructure needs in the most comprehensive and holistic way.

Learn more about Rocket Software’s suite of tools to protect organizations’ IT functions.