IT Checklists for SMBs: Part 2

Jul 21, 2023 | business continuity, disaster and recovery, managed services

Know Your IT Risks

Whether you have an in-house IT team, or have outsourced your IT needs to a Managed Services Provider, you need to know the possible risks to your business from an IT perspective. Having an IT risk checklist can help you in your disaster recovery and business continuity planning.

Getting started

In order to assess your IT risks, you need to first know the landscape. Answer questions like:

  • In what areas is IT supporting your business, currently?
  • What role is IT going to play in the success of your business going forward?
  • What new roles can you foresee for IT in improving your business efficiency, security, compliance, marketing?
  • Do you have any old technology to upgrade or new technology that you want to implement in the next year?
  • If you have an in-house IT team, what kind of staff structure do you see in the next year?
  • If you are planning to expand your in-house IT team, how many team members will you need to bring onboard? What specific roles will they fill? What will be the costs associated with this decision?
  • Would it be more effective and efficient to hire an MSP to supplement or replace your in-house IT department?
  • What is your IT budget for the year?
The checklist for your IT risks

The next step would be to create a checklist of your IT risks. List risks most relevant to you and assess the probability of them occurring. Such assessments will help you arrive at the key safety measures you need to take, as a business, to keep your data safe and business thriving.

At this stage, you should be answering questions like:

  • What IT risks are most relevant to you? For example, data privacy is a serious concern for a business operating in healthcare, while phishing can be a bigger concern for an accounting firm. Grading your risks will be helpful as you polish the IT aspects of your business operations. Expect to have several risk factors: just because data privacy is a concern for healthcare doesn’t mean phishing is not!
  • Another angle to look into are environmental risks. For example, do you operate in a hurricane-prone area, or someplace prone to wildfires?
  • In a worst-case scenario, if any or all components of your IT infrastructure were to fail, how long can you survive before it will be difficult for you to bounce back?
  • Can your business operate without your key IT systems working? If not, how long can you afford to keep it shut?
  • Do you have contingency plans? If yes, who is informed of them and has access to implement them? Have the plans been reviewed to be current?

Now, based on answers on the two lists, revisit and refine each. Add points that come to light of issues in need of address. Refinement of your lists should be ongoing, because ever-changing technology will deprecate old systems as new solutions evolve.

Whether you have an in-house IT team, rely on an MSP, or use a combination of the two for your IT management, this exercise will help you understand your key IT goals, the possible impediments to them, and help you recover in the event of an IT emergency.

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