With digital technology now playing an essential role in businesses across all sectors of the economy, any company that is still working on outdated IT solutions is likely to find itself struggling to cope with the data-driven, constantly connected environment.
But while embracing the latest tools can greatly increase productivity and help give firms a competitive advantage over their rivals, they are not without their drawbacks. There are numerous risks that businesses need to be able to deal with as a result of the ever-evolving technology landscape, which could cause serious problems if they are not addressed.
Malicious attacks aimed at large enterprises have been much in the news recently, following a series of high-profile breaches. Consumer-facing firms and those that handle confidential data such as financial details may be most at risk, as they can present an attractive opportunity for hackers – as brands such as Target have recently discovered.
It was also claimed recently by the Ponemon Institute that firms using cloud tools are more at risk of this, with the research firm estimating such firms face triple the risk of breaches costing at least $20 million.
To combat this, a close focus on security will be essential. This needs to start with top-of-the-line software solutions and tough encryption on data centre transfers, but it should not stop with technology alone. Human error can often be a point of entry for hackers, so all personnel with access to sensitive data need to be educated on best practices to avoid compromising key login details.
2. Enterprise mobility.
One area in which staff will particularly need guidance is likely to be when it comes to their use of mobile devices. With smartphones and tablets becoming ubiquitous in many people’s personal lives, it is to be expected they with look to incorporate this into their professional activities as well.
But this can cause problems for businesses if sensitive data is being accessed away from corporate networks, particularly if is it being viewed via personally-owned smartphones that have not be vetted or approved by IT departments for their security.
Clear policies for the use of personally-owned devices will therefore be essential as part of a good enterprise mobility strategy. Directives on what applications will be allowed and what rights a business has over company data stored in personal devices will need to be articulated. For many firms, pursuing a more restrictive route of company-issued devices or limiting the options employees have available may be the better choice if they are concerned about the risks of more liberal policies.
3. Data loss.
But it is not just deliberate theft that can cause problems, as with businesses so dependent on fast access to the latest data, any form of disruption to this process can cost a company huge amounts of money. Whether it is due to hardware failure, human error or natural disasters such as flooding or fire, firms that find themselves losing critical business data could see huge disruption to their operations.
This is one area where cloud computing solutions can be particularly useful, as providers can often offer comprehensive backup and recovery solutions to ensure a business can keep functioning should the worst happen. Solutions that provide full replication of key databases or applications can greatly reduce the risks data-dependent businesses face in today’s environment.