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Change complexity and security are biggest IT risks

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Haydn Pinnell, MD, Gallium (an EOH company), says that both growth and
organisational change can put strain on applications as they struggle to
keep up with rising demand and usage. In a world populated by increasingly
sophisticated and fickle customers, business survival, let alone success,
depends upon smooth-running applications.

"In every organisation, large or small, there are certain systems and
applications that are more important than others. If a web server which
provides customers access to archive information goes down for an hour or
two, the impact on your business is likely to be minimal. But, if the web
servers providing customers access to your e-commerce system go down for an
hour, preventing you from selling your goods and services, the impact on
your business is much more immediate and much more significant."
Gallium is a leading supplier of business technology optimisation solutions
from HP Software, and specialised technology based professional services.
Pinnell says that HP recently released the results of a global survey of 1
125 IT professionals from 20 countries, revealing their views about IT risk
and how it relates to business risk.
The study, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of
HP, revealed that the greatest sources of IT risk were the volume of
changes, the increasing complexity of systems, and security breaches due to
hackers.
What emerged clearly is that predictability is the main issue for many IT
organisations, and given that IT and business risk are so tightly linked, a
lack of predictability for IT equates to a lack of predictability for the
business. Companies that manage these issues properly will have a distinct
competitive advantage.
Pinnell outlines some of the most important conclusions drawn from the
survey:
* In the past three years, change complexity and security have increased IT
risk the most.
* One out of four respondents said that 50% of their outages were caused by
change.
* 68% of respondents use manual methods to identify application security
vulnerabilities.
* Only 28% of respondents described their application security process as
mature, with formal policies and tools in place to manage security from
development through quality assurance to operations.
* 80% of respondents agree that automation of IT functions frees up time and
budget for innovation.
"HP Software helps customers reduce the risk of business service downtime by
delivering solutions that help them better manage and automate IT
operations," Pinnell says. "The key findings from the study show that the
majority of business service disruptions are linked to IT changes. The
automation of IT processes ensures that changes are more predictable, which
is critical to preventing any negative business impact."
Efficiently performing and reliably accessible applications contribute
directly to business success because of the fundamental role they play in:
* The automation of business functions. Increased competition reduces
operating margins, forcing cuts in available resources but increasing the
pressure to lower operational costs. Process and service automation remains
one of the most effective ways to cut costs while improving services and
maintaining performance levels without adding resources. Application
automation is therefore one of the quickest routes to higher profitability.
* The delivery of competitive advantage. To retain customers today is no
easy task, and the only way to attract them to your brand is through updated
and modified applications which will increase customer satisfaction. A
larger customer base increases market share and the potential for revenue
growth, business survival and success.
Pinnell says that Gallium's team of 116 professional services consultants
deliver best-practice based assistance in all sectors.
"Applications are the lifeblood of a business, and application security
breaches put business outcomes at serious risk. HP application security
offerings allow developers, QA teams and security professionals to quickly
and cost-effectively perform a security risk assessment, identify security
vulnerabilities and remove security defects throughout the application
lifecycle."