Risk assessment: A Value model

Jan 30, 2024 | managed services

Risk assessment is all about identifying external and internal threats that exist for your business, measuring the likely consequences if any of them becomes reality, and determining how each could damage or impede your business. A data security risk assessment would identify what data you have, how you use it, how confidential it may be, how it is affected by regulations and the ways it could be compromised. A major focus of a data security assessment is cybercrime.

Using risk assessment to develop a staffing solution for your IT needs means evaluating risk and directing staffing resources to those areas where the risk is greatest and the consequences most severe. Basically, it is an evaluation on the ROI of your IT staffing in light of identified risk. The goal is to evaluate risk in light of business and operational consequences. Put simply, which point of failure leads to the most destructive consequences. Once that is determined, your limited IT resources can be directed toward the most critical areas.

You could try to find specific applicants that have the skills and proficiencies you need to plug the holes. But, is that the most cost-effective and efficient given the challenges of hiring? The market is very competitive and the investment of time and money into finding the right candidate, meeting all legal requirements and financial commitments around making a hire can be quite high.

Consider partnership with an MSP

Using a Managed Service provider for at least some of your most critical needs can be a very effective way of targeting your IT resources to where you are most vulnerable. MSPs have access to tools and resources which individual businesses, especially small businesses, do not have. Their business model allows them to manage many complex IT tasks and services efficiently through scale. MSPs typically select and offer limited vendor solutions so they can manage multiple systems on a single platform, whether backup, malware protection, security training & compliance, or machine management. They’ve chosen tools that work well for any number of reasons and can provide services to you at a more reasonable cost because of these efficiencies of scale. Additionally, their familiarity with specific products and services, further increases efficiencies which benefit you as a customer.

Take, for example, malware protection: the typical small business buys a computer that may or may not come with some introductory protection. Should that software detect anything malicious, what is the process to deal with it? Most have no plan. When the introductory period runs out, many do not purchase any kind of renewal, and if they do, how does licensing get tracked? An MSP, on the other hand, offers a single product, installs it across all your devices and has a central portal to see threat alerts, notifications of malfunctioning agents and even issue remote commands to neutralize the threat and/or isolate the system so it does not infect others on the network.

Freedom to move resources to where they are most needed

Opting for an in-house IT team limits you in terms of scalability and flexibility. You cannot just add or reduce members of your IT team at will. Choosing a managed services provider, however, provides the flexibility to scale up or down your IT investment to suit your business needs. Pricing is often based on various aspects under management. Additionally, many MSPs offer co-managed solutions where you have specific individuals in-house with some IT responsibilities. An MSP will be there as guidance and backup for those individuals as needed and take on complete management of situations that exceed the capacity of your in-house help.

You are better prepared for IT emergencies

Having a service contract with an MSP helps you tackle IT emergencies better because you get access to top-level IT expertise. An MSP’s core business is IT so they are naturally more knowledgeable and up-to-date when it comes to the latest IT challenges, including cybercrime. Plus, an MSP can deploy more resources if needed to solve your emergency, helping your business get back on its feet sooner. Many offerings of MSPs are aimed at prevention, as opposed to reaction, so in the long run, you will typically have fewer issues requiring an emergency response. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

You will be ahead of the curve

The IT industry is constantly evolving. An in-house IT team will find it challenging to keep up with the latest trends and recommendations of the IT industry since they will be caught up in managing the day-to-day IT tasks at your office. Also, IT is a very broad field, and only a diverse IT team has the depth to cover all of the different areas. With an MSP, you don’t need to have a major focus on how technology is changing. A good MSP will not only be up-to-date with the latest in tech but also advise you on what changes you need to make to stay ahead of the curve.

The lesson for hiring IT is that you should focus resources, be they in-house or external, on the areas where your business is at highest risk from a single point of failure or a cyberattack. Not all IT needs are equal, and traditional hiring models don’t always recognize this. A Managed Service Provider can also assist you in determining a hierarchy of your IT needs.

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