The simple answer is that nobody knows!

However, I can have a go at what usually passes for forward planning in many circles, i.e. projecting recent trends forwards on the assumption that the near future will be much like the recent past. Only more so!

If you will indulge me, perhaps we will find something useful to help us be a bit better prepared for the coming year.

The most obvious trend in 2013 has been for us all to get even more dependent on our computers and the Internet than we were before, and there is no sign of any reversal in this trend. Indeed, as the technology “advances” we are all tempted to make ever more use of it. Some of it we do even find useful.

So the first group of risks to watch are “Cyber-risks” meaning those arising from the use of computers and related technology. Of course these are hardly new, but I think they will become more important simply because of our increased dependence on IT and so more vulnerable to anything going wrong with it. These risks include:

  • IT crashing or failing to perform
  • Loss of data
  • Identity Theft
  • Breaches of confidentiality

The causes of such misfortunes may be:

  • Hardware or software malfunction
  • Hacking
  • Malware or viruses
  • Theft of equipment
  • Human error.

Measures to control these risks must include:

  •   Choice of hardware and software
  •   Anti-virus and anti-malware programs
  •   Backup arrangements
  •   Password control
  •   Physical security of premises
  •   Staff selection, training, and monitoring.

N.B. If you are reviewing your cyber-risks, remember that most of these apply not only to mainframe, desk-top and lap-top computers and the obvious peripheral devices, but also to mobile ‘phones, tablets, electronic diaries, and any other devices used for storing or processing data.  Some people I know use their mobile ‘phones to run their businesses.  For them, loss of a ‘phone, or letting the wrong people get access to it, would be a disaster.

I will be writing again about other related (and unrelated) risks to watch for in 2014, but taking control of the above would be a good start.