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Why hiring for IT risk management jobs is a top priority

Filed under: Features — Jonathan on August 22, 2013

The managers of large organisations tend to have an instinctive, and perfectly understandable, loathing of bureaucracy. Those people who create extra processes and paperwork, which might, to the ill-informed, seem surplus to requirements, are not always the favourites of executives who simply wish to get the job done. Sometimes risk managers are, albeit unfairly, viewed as such people. They are paid to be that fly in the ointment who always wants to run that time-consuming last-minute check, or who would like to build time in to projects for documentation.

However, when disaster strikes, the true value of IT risk managers is realised. Suddenly, all those processes and heavy-duty paperwork make sense. Those very documents are suddenly the route out of the maze, helping minimise problems, even pulling a company back from the brink.

Companies rely so heavily on IT systems these days that having an IT risk manager on board should be a particularly high priority. This is especially the case considering the range of cyber threats facing modern companies, as well as the consequences of damage done.

Some key threats

Amongst the most troubling cybercrime threats are the following:

Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks

A business server is assailed with a huge number of deliberately directed, but pointless, network requests which can rapidly stretch it beyond its capacity, thereby making it grind to a halt. Customers experience the attack as effectively a server outage. Recently, the Bank of America and five other leading US banks were hit by such an attack.

Theft of sensitive data through hacking

Cyber criminals may target a customer information database on a corporate server and steal personal data, including financial information. This has happened in recent history to a major games console platform, causing considerable problems.

Advanced Persistent threats

These devilish attacks are carefully orchestrated assaults on a company’s IT network, designed to cause persistent, nagging damage over extended periods of time. They could start with a phishing attack on multiple employees. It might only take one person to open a rogue attachment, which would then act as the Trojan horse to allow malware to become operational on a corporate network.

The consequences

The consequences of such attacks on an enterprise or large organisation can be significant. First and foremost, business continuity can be affected, either on a large or small scale. The simple act of communicating with customers could be impeded by a DDOS. Next, a company’s reputation might well suffer from a serious security breach, taking weeks, months, or even years to patch up; meanwhile, sales could suffer as a knock-on effect of the dent in reputation. Finally, insurance premiums might well be increased if a company comes across as vulnerable to cybercrime, or generally “leaky”.

Help is at hand

IT risk managers and their teams could well prevent many of these calamities from ever happening. With careful assessment, and the right precautionary steps along with appropriate disaster rehearsals and simulations, a company’s worst fears do not have to be realised.

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