Every project carries with it an inherent level of risk. This is especially true in the fast-paced uncertainty of an IT project. Creating a risk assessment document allows a project manager to prepare for the inevitable. Our IT risk assessment template gives you the tools to see what might be waiting around the corner.
Why You Need an IT Risk Assessment Excel Template
Risk is something that is just part of life, but in business, that risk can bring financial loss and send an enterprise spiraling down the drain. This is doubly true of IT projects. First off, most businesses today rely heavily on IT. Imagine doing work if your network went down, or your computer has fizzled out?
The list of risks to an IT environment are long. They include hardware or software failure, malware, viruses, pace, scams and phishing. There’s also human error and malignant threats from hackers, fraud, denial-of-service attacks, security breaches and even dishonest staff. That doesn’t even take into account natural disasters, such as floods, fire, etc., which can take down an IT system and with it a company’s valuable data.
Whoever is responsible for risk management at your organization, be they the chief technology officer, chief security officer, chief risk officer, chief information officer or whomever, they are involved in a three-step process to control risk: risk assessment, risk mitigation and risk evaluation. While all three are important, when you start with a thorough risk assessment, you’re more likely prepared for the other stages of managing risk.
Potential Losses from IT Downtime
According to a report by CompTIA, global IT is on track in 2019 to reach a $5 trillion industry, with the U.S. the world’s largest tech market, representing 31 percent or $1.6 billion. That’s a lot of money to leave in the sights of potential risk.
The average cost of just one minute of IT downtime is about $5,600, according to research conducted by Gartner. But depending on the size of the company and its financial investment in staff, that figure can range anywhere from $140,000 to $540,000 per hour.
In fact, 33 percent of the companies surveyed claimed that an hour of downtime cost them between $1-5 million, factoring in lost productivity, lost opportunities, damage to their brand, data loss and, if you have them, service level agreements (SLA), which is an agreement on quality and availability, between a service provider and client.
With an IT risk assessment excel template you can identify company assets, list potential threats, look into where you’re vulnerable and the likelihood of incidents. Note what the possible repercussions of a realized risk are and determine what controls must be in place to manage them. Also, you can use this information to work on continuously improving the process.
What’s Inside Our IT Risk Assessment Template
The basic structure of any IT assessment is built into our software risk assessment template. From numerically listing the various items to avoid confusion and naming the topic, to outlining what the risk is and the control environment. Our IT risk assessment template helps you collect the information you need.
This template not only gives you a bucket in which to collect risks to your IT system, but actions that will mitigate those risks and the means by which you can monitor your organization so as to know immediately when the rise arises, if it does.
There’s also a handy calculator to take the likelihood of the risk happening and multiply that against the impact such a risk would have on the organization, so you have a tool to measure the possible impact of that risk upon your IT system.
How to Use Our Risk Assessment Template
The IT risk assessment template is a list of potential risks, numbered on a spreadsheet. Each row is a risk. The columns are as follows.
- Item: The number of the risk, for easy tracking and identification
- Topic: The area of risk, a more general heading of where the risk is likely to occur
- Risk: Specific definition of what the actual risk is
- Control Environment: A set of standards, structures and processes that are needed to control the risk
- Risk Assessment: A general idea of how the risk will impact the operations
- Control Activities: The policies, procedures, techniques, mechanisms, etc., in place for management’s reduction of risk
- Monitoring: Tracking of identified risks and execution of risk management
- Information and Communication: Background on risk and how it will be disseminated
- Controls Present: Are the necessary controls against risk in place (yes or no drop-down list)
- Risk Judgement: Further clarification of risk in terms of priority (high, medium, low priority drop-down list)
- Likelihood: Drop-down list on likelihood of risk occurring
- Impact: Drop-down list of potential impact
- Risk Level: Calculates prior two columns to further define risk
- Comments: Additional information or dialogue
What This IT Risk Assessment Can & Can’t Do
This software risk assessment template is a great start to managing risk, but it’s not a magic bullet to cure all ills. There are many things it can do to help you get started on assessing the risk in your IT system, but eventually, you’re going to hit a wall. Read on to learn how you can clear that hurdle.
What an IT Risk Assessment Template Can Do
Our template gathers risks to your IT system and the actions you’ll take to remedy them. For example, you can identify the risk and then assign an owner who will be responsible for resolving it.
The template has space for you to note where the risk is likely to occur, and what kind of risk it might be. Then, you may note what standards, structures and processes are necessary to control it.
You can monitor the progress of the identified risk, and manage the execution of the risk management plan to address it. You can even add priority, impact and take note if controls against that risk are in place or not.
What an IT Risk Assessment Template Can’t Do
The template is a static document. You have to update it. It’s really a glorified checklist. That’s helpful, sure, but only so much. For example, you can’t build out a plan for addressing those risks on the template.
Even if you had a place already in place, there’s no way the template can track the real-time progress of that plan once it’s executed. The template is sort of an outline. You need project management software to fill in the holes.
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool with online Gantt charts that create plans with phases, linked task dependencies, even calculating critical path and setting baselines. Our real-time dashboard tracks your progress across several metrics, including time, cost and workload.
The IT risk assessment template is a great way to dip your toe in the waters of risk management, but when you’re ready to dive in, use our software with this free 30-day trial.
How to Import Our IT Risk Assessment Template into ProjectManager.com
Our IT risk assessment template is a great starting point on your risk management plan. But there is so much more that you can do then collect data on a static spreadsheet. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that takes your risk assessment to the next level.
To get our IT risk assessment template into the ProjectManager.com software, simply create a project and go to the Gantt view. On the upper right-hand corner is an import button. You can import our spreadsheet or any Excel, CSV or even MS Project file and all your data is instantly populated on the Gantt.
Now you have more control to automate tasks, like alerts for upcoming deadlines, and can even assign individual tasks to team members. They can converse with fellow team members at the task level, add supporting material to the task and when they update their status, you know instantly on the real-time dashboard.
From the dashboard you can also generate colorful and easy-to-read charts and graphs, which can be filtered to show only the information you want for the target audience. These charts and graphs can then be shared with team members or management to keep everyone on the same page.
Other Templates to Complement Your IT Risk Assessment Template
Managing risk is a big job. Our free risk assessment tool is a good start, but you’re going to need more help. If you don’t have a project management tool, we have quite a few free templates on our site to help you every step of the way. The following are three that work with the IT risk assessment template.
The first thing you have to do in order to resolve risk is to identify it! Our free status reports template can reveal problems and help you find risk in your project before it takes you off-track. Think of the status report as a communication tool that tells you what’s happening in the project at a specific time. You can set up the frequency—daily, weekly or monthly.
Looking for risk can be considered a smaller project within your larger project. When you develop a plan to assess the risk, you’ll likely have tasks for your team to execute. To make sure that everything is running smoothly, you can make use of our free task tracking template. Our template organizes the tasks in terms of ready, assigned, finished, etc. It also allows you to note the task name, what is involved and who has been assigned to do it. Then, you can tag it for priority, and add the start date and planned end date to keep track of its progress.
Assessing the risk also means determining who needs to know about it. You need to make sure everyone knows what their part is in the process. That’s where our free RACI matrix template comes in handy. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. Our template allows you to assign everyone on the project team to one of those four categories, so they know what they’re responsible for and you know who to give information to.
Related Content on ProjectManager.com
Risk is a big subject, and one that is ever-evolving. ProjectManager.com has resources on our site to help fill in the gaps in one’s knowledge of IT risk and risk in all its project forms. The following are a few of the many training videos and blog posts we’ve published on the subject.
ProjectManager.com to Control IT Risk
Are you ready to take more control of your IT risk assessment and risk management? ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that has all the features you need to get any project done on time, within budget. See how ProjectManager.com can help you better identify, control and track risk in your IT systems by taking this free 30-day trial today.
(This post was updated October 2020)