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IT governance: why your business needs it

Technology has become the backbone of the business world, and organizations of all sizes and sectors rely on it to run just about everything. Therefore, they must carefully consider their investments and the potential consequences of underutilisation or abuse, such as customer loss, business decline, and regulatory fines. 

Companies should not only keep up with the pace of change as technology evolves and new trends emerge but also drive it in ways that result in innovations. An effective IT governance strategy is required to enable your organization to adapt to new technologies and processes while still meeting strategic objectives and other key performance indicators. 

What is IT governance?

According to Gartner, IT governance is a framework that connects IT strategy with business strategy to improve IT management and realize greater value from digital technology for businesses. Simply put, the IT governance process ensures that digital initiatives are aligned with business goals. 

In some cases, a predefined industry framework such as ISO 27001 or COBIT  is used to determine how these processes should be handled, but some organizations prefer a mixed approach or customize their framework to fit their unique needs and objectives. 

When it comes to digital transformation, IT governance is more crucial than ever for companies. Having strong IT governance can help ensure IT infrastructure is properly aligned with business objectives, as well as identify and mitigate risks associated with new technology, providing a foundation for future expansion. 

Why is IT governance important?

An organization's failure to develop an IT strategy and plan for the future may result in significant financial losses. 

Organizations are required to show due diligence when it comes to the protection of confidential data, financial accountability, data retention, and disaster recovery, among other issues. Due to increasingly stringent regulations governing these areas, as well as the interests of shareholders, stakeholders, and clients, IT governance ensures enterprises are able to satisfy internal and external compliance requirements. 

An inadequate IT governance framework can result in the misidentification of sensitive data, critical services, and substandard security measures. Lack of alignment between the business and IT strategies weakens communication, which in turn results in poor allocation of resources and a lack of transparency. 

A structured IT governance policy can help companies make better strategic decisions, improve data ownership, increase data security and transparency, and increase accountability, all of which can help improve business efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

The first step in creating an effective IT governance strategy is to determine how much governance your IT requires. The amount of control and oversight your company has over its IT systems and infrastructure determines the amount of governance. Your company may have no governance, or it may have a substantial amount, in which it controls its IT infrastructure and systems. 

Benefits of IT governance

IT governance programs should be present in any organization in any industry that must comply with financial and technological accountability regulations. 

Prioritizing IT governance benefits businesses in a number of ways:

  • Enhancing the efficiency and processes of your existing business operations by ensuring IT and business strategy unification. 
  • Analyzing whether your current IT infrastructure is operating as intended and adding value to your business can help you gain a better understanding of workplace processes. 
  • Offering insight on new technology and if those solutions would create growth opportunities for your business. 
  • Encouraging commitment to data protection and cybersecurity by adopting best practices for compliance and regulation. 
  • Ensuring no resources are wasted and your IT environment receives maximum return on investment by providing cost-effective solutions. 

Setting up a comprehensive IT governance program requires significant investment in time and resources. Smaller businesses may only utilize the most basic governance procedures, whereas larger, more regulated organizations will choose comprehensive IT governance programs, such as:

ITIL: the framework for IT service management, ensuring that the core processes of a company are supported by information technology. ITIL comprises five sets of management best practices: service strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual service improvement. 

COBIT: less IT-centric and concentrates on regulatory compliance, risk management, and properly aligning IT strategy with company or organizational goals. 

ISO 27001:the international standard that provides the fundamental requirements for establishing, managing, enhancing, and operating information security management systems (ISMSs). 

FAIR: helps organisations quantify risk. Its primary focus is on operational risk and cybersecurity. 

Align your business and IT strategies

A clear vision and understanding of what your organization wants to accomplish will help you develop a successful governance strategy. Furthermore, your IT governance strategy should reflect your business's culture and values. 

Not sure where to start with digital strategy, security and compliance? Contact the managed security services experts at ThreatAdvice and get started with aligning your business and IT strategies.