The Reputational Risk and IT Relationship

Businesses are more visible than ever before: both for good and for bad. Good because they can connect to customers, have more ways to advertise, and can create lasting relationships across the globe. Bad because every mistake made is immediately broadcasted in much the same way. This post by Emily Holbrook takes a look at how IT in particular fits into the puzzle: how does IT’s ability to protect a company from risks affect the public’s view of that company’s reputation? Using the 2012 IBM Global Reputational Risk and IT Study, Holbrook shows how cybercrime is more of a reputational risk than, surprisingly, systems failure. This doesn’t make sense to an IT professional, but consider it from the point of view of a customer: if a system goes down, you are inconvenienced. If a system is hacked, you are looking at potentially sensitive data about yourself being used by criminals. Organizations are aware of this fact, and as Holbrook goes on to say, are doing something about it:

Organizations of all sizes across all industries are devoting more time and attention to potential cyber threats that could harm their reputation. “This concern is reflected in more integrated, enterprise-wide approaches to risk management led from the C-suite and increased attention being paid to the direct reputational impacts of IT risks,” the report states. This study, along with many others, point to the conclusion that cyber and data security has earned top billing in the list of biggest risks posed to businesses. How is your company responding?

Companies can’t simply assume that customers assume the IT group within the organization is up to par. IT has to step up its abilities and visibility if it wants to help the business gain and maintain customer growth.

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