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December 5, 2014

Businesses face £410,000 cost per IT failure

The latest KPMG report blames IT failures on ‘avoidable’ problems.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Businesses are incurring costs totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds on IT failures that are avoidable, according to KPMG research.

The latest Technology Risk Radar report from KPMG found that employers had to fork out £410,000 for each technology failure they experienced in the last 12 months.

More than 776,000 individuals were also affected, with around four million bank and credit card accounts compromised by each IT failure.

The research blamed the IT failures on ‘avoidable’ problems, such as software coding errors or failed IT changes, which accounted for 50% of the number of failures in the last year.

Of these, 7.3% of reported incidents were the fault of human error – a figure which suggests that basic investments in training are being ignored at the employers’ cost.

Jon Dowie, a partner in KPMG’s Technology Risk practice said: "Technology is no longer a function within a business which operates largely in isolation. It is at the heart of everything a company does and, when it goes wrong it affects an organisation’s bottom line, its relationship with customers and its wider reputation."

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"Investment in technology will continue to rise as businesses embrace digital and other opportunities, but this needs to be matched by investments in assessing, managing and monitoring the associated risks. At a time when even our regulators have shown themselves to be vulnerable to technology risk, no one can afford to be complacent."

The report also pointed to a utility company, which faced a £10m fine when technical glitches during a transfer to a new billing system meant customers did not receive bills for month. They were then sent inaccurate payment demands or refused prompt refunds when the errors were eventually acknowledged.

The report also predicts IT complexity will continue to be the single biggest risk to financial services organisations in the coming year, followed by ineffective governance, risk and non-compliance with regulations.

Dowie added: "With ever greater complexity in IT systems – not to mention the challenge of implementing IT transformational change -companies are running to stand still in managing their IT risks.

"The cost of failure is all too clear. It is crucial for both public and private sector organisations to understand the risks associated withIT and how they can be managed, mitigated and avoided."

The Technology Risk Radar report reviewed over 10,000 news articles from international English language media outlets from September 2013-August 2014.

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