IT risk management

Different types of IT risk


Your IT systems and the information that you hold on them face a wide range of risks. If your business relies on technology for key operations and activities, you need to be aware of the range and nature of those threats.

Types of risks in IT systems

Threats to your IT systems can be external, internal, deliberate and unintentional. Most IT risks affect one or more of the following:

  • business or project goals
  • service continuity
  • bottom-line results
  • business reputation
  • security
  • infrastructure

Examples of IT risks

Looking at the nature of risks, it is possible to differentiate between:

  • Physical threats - resulting from physical access or damage to IT resources such as the servers. These could include theft, damage from fire or flood, or unauthorised access to confidential data by an employee or outsider.
  • Electronic threats - aiming to compromise your business information - eg a hacker could get access to your website, your IT system could become infected by a computer virus, or you could fall victim to a fraudulent email or website. These are often of a criminal nature.
  • Technical failures - such as software bugs, a computer crash or the complete failure of a computer component. A technical failure can be catastrophic if, for example, you cannot retrieve data on a failed hard drive and no backup copy is available.
  • Infrastructure failures - such as the loss of your internet connection can interrupt your business - eg you could miss an important purchase order.
  • Human error - is a major threat - eg someone might accidentally delete important data, or fail to follow security procedures properly.

How to manage IT risks?

Managing various types of IT risks begins with identifying exactly:

  • the type of threats affecting your business
  • the assets that may be at risks
  • the ways of securing your IT systems

Find out how to carry out an IT risk assessment and learn more about the IT risk management process.