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14 July 2017

What vital questions should you be asking about your IT security?

Robert Ingham, recruiter for our IT services business, talks to us about questions we should be asking about IT security.

Businesses are increasingly reliant on IT systems and the networks linking them – but what happens when something goes wrong?

While the IT activities of any two businesses are unlikely to be the same, understanding the relevance of systems and software in order to respond effectively to any issues is key.

This is especially the case when it comes to the most serious problems, often termed ‘critical IT events’.

In order get to grips with what is needed, it’s essential to ask the right questions – the most important of which I’ve detailed below.

Just how reliant is a business on its IT?

It’s quite difficult to measure reliance in quantifiable terms, but Quocirca did give it a go in late 2016, using a scale that looked into how IT use related to customer interaction.

Running from absolute reliance to no reliance (rated 1 to 5), the study found that 30% of those questioned put their IT reliance in the High, Very High or Highest categories, while only 4% listed their reliance as none.

As you can see it means that reliance on IT varies wildly – unsurprisingly half of telecom service providers opted for one of the top three categories, primarily as their customers can be helpless to act if systems go down.

Is there a disaster recovery plan in place and do you know what it is?

Knowing what to do in the event of a critical IT event is key to limiting its impacts. Those questioned said it was vital to act if the event would impact customers directly, with 77% saying priority would be given to any events that render it systems unusable.

If issues were occurring more regularly, the figure increased to 93%. For firms that are heavily reliant on IT, the costs associated with critical events are inevitably higher. Whereas the average event can cost €88,000, that figure can increase to €176 for those most reliant. And then there are the costs of putting everything right on top – which can vary between around €30,000 and €60,000.

It’s important to stress here that higher costs are not reflective of poor quality systems, just that more resources are needed to limit the effects as quickly as possible. Having a plan in place that can be referred to in an emergency can make a world of difference, provided of course, that it is easily understood by those that need to understand it. Such an option should therefore be readily available to staff.

Can your IT systems be improved and how?

Removing critical IT events altogether is near impossible, but that doesn’t mean to say they cannot be managed and dealt with effectively. The key is to identify the risks and instigate safeguards to limit the impact.

While employing more staff might not seem like a cost effective solution, it does mean that there are more hands on deck to deal with issues promptly when they occur. This can make all the difference for organisations that are heavily reliant on IT, while the implementation of operational intelligence tools and software can further enhance the capabilities of your IT system.

How many times do critical IT problems occur?

The scale of the problem should define when action is needed – those facing more issues will need to act more quickly for example. If you’re faced with a situation when critical IT problems are becoming more commonplace, it may be necessary to introduce wide scale changes that relate to security, working practices and the protection of data.

Where is my IT security and how do I find it?

In the event that a critical IT problem emerges, you’ll want to know where to turn to in order to solve it. Understanding what tools are available at your disposal is therefore the first point to address and as many staff as possible should know where to find them (or at the very least, who to contact).

An awareness of the key issues related to IT security is just the start, but it does give you the platform to ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible.

Robert started off his early career working in Sales as a Divisional Manager and a Business Development Manager for Goldteam Recruitment. He joined Capita in 2014 as an internal recruiter and then joined our IT services in 2016.

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