The modern business world marches to the beat of technology’s drum, and has done so for many years. As the internet and email matured in the 1990s, companies began to adapt and take up the technology. With the advent of high speed broadband in the 2000s, companies again further embraced the burgeoning tech, taking it to the heart of their operations. This has continued into the current decade where smartphones and tablet computers are ubiquitous, and Big Data plays a pivotal role in the day to day operations of many firms. Furthermore, for financial institutions the coming of online card payments, advancements in mobile technology and contactless payments have helped diversify their business offerings and their customer reach.

IT outsourcing has also become an attractive proposition for companies and financial institutions. With cheaper and more plentiful labour available in many emerging markets, and with the necessary technological capabilities, institutions have found fewer roadblocks to outsourcing many of their services internationally.

Clearly, technology has changed the way we do business. It has helped to globalise the economy and impacted irrevocably on everyday life at home. Financial institutions have come to rely on technology to help support their business processes and handle massive amounts of critical data. Given the importance of technology and the impact that it has on corporates, it is vital that organisations place technology risk management at the top of the corporate agenda. Despite the positive implications of embracing technological advancement, the decision to infuse businesses and our working life with technology is not without its risks.

With cyber criminality and data privacy breaches on the up – indeed, seemingly not a week goes by without reference to a breach somewhere, be it a retailer or government agency – the time for companies to factor technology into their wider risk management strategies has now surely come. Companies today are more reliant on complex IT systems, and for financial institutions, the risk of cyber attack and system disruption is comparatively high. Cyber breaches can negatively impact shareholder value, tarnish the brand and expose companies to expensive, lengthy and embarrassing litigation.

Oct-Dec 2015 Issue

Richard Summerfield