Terrorist attacks, competition and regulation are all bigger threats to businesses than the risks posed by technology failure.

More than half (seven) of silicon.com’s CIO Jury IT user panel said tech isn’t viewed as the biggest area of risk to their organisation on the overall enterprise risk ‘heat map’.

Gavin Whatrup, group IT director at marketing and advertising agency Creston, said operationally the threats and risks for IT are fairly clear but added that not using IT appropriately could also be classified as a strategic risk.

He said: “Identify the threat then define the risk. Without an appreciation of the former there will be no identification of the latter.”

Ken Davis, IT director at TV channel Five, said: “There are IT-related risks of course but even in an operation which is totally dependant on IT other, more strategic business, competitive and regulatory risks are seen as greater and much more difficult to mitigate.”

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Graham Yellowley, director of technology services at investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, added: “IT is a component of the enterprise risk but not the hottest. Currently external threats, such as terrorist threats, are high up on the heat map, and other indicators such as operational processes are at a level similar to IT.”

But for some internet and IT-intensive companies technology will always be the single biggest risk factor that needs mitigating and managing.

Paul Broome, CTO at 192.com, said: “We are a technology company and critically damaged systems means a screwed company.”

Rorie Devine, CTO at online betting exchange Betfair, said: “At Betfair IT underpins a lot of the company’s mission critical systems, and therefore manages a lot of the risks the company faces.”

One IT director – who wished to remain anonymous – at an organisation affected by the failed car bomb attacks in London last week said the “unknown event” is probably ahead of IT when it comes to risk management.

The IT director said: “We’re being pushed hard to advance our disaster recovery testing currently. However, I think our chairman and FD would never like us to think that they were concerned that IT had that much power over the organisation.”

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Neil Bath, IT director, Brewin Dolphin Securities
Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi UK
Paul Broome, CTO, 192.com
Ken Davis, IT director, Five
Rorie Devine, CTO, Betfair
Steve Gediking, head of IT and facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
Jane Kimberlin, IT director, Domino’s Pizza
Rob Neil, head of ICT and customer services, Ashford Borough Council
Sean Powley, London Borough of Barnet
Richard Rundle, IT director, BAA
Gavin Whatrup, group IT director, Creston
Graham Yellowley, director of technology services, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International

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