In simple terms, IT governance provides a framework for aligning IT strategy with business strategy. The formal process provided by IT governance enables organisations to effectively and efficiently use IT to produce measurable results toward achieving strategies and business goals.
IT governance is usually perceived as only relevant to large organisations but small businesses can start with simpler versions or sections of existing standard IT governance frameworks and build on that foundation as they grow. Getting such steps in place is fairly simple when a business is small and agile. Furthermore, it will deliver a solid foundation that will allow a small business to scale whilst adopting a consistent framework.
Here are some best practices that help in making IT governance more effective:
* Identify the right people who will make the tough decisions and be held accountable for those decisions.
* Clearly define roles and responsibilities to match the decision-making needs and the authorities and level of accountability.
* Ensure that the processes, policies, and criteria for decision-making reflect the culture and decision-making style of the organisation.
* Establish the availability of sufficient and reliable information for decision-making.
* Make certain that the team members and stakeholders are adequately engaged.
* Revisit the policies and processes regularly and update them if necessary.
* Communicate frequently with the stakeholders to keep them informed and engaged.
* Regularly report on how the governance program is contributing to defined goals.
It is advisable that Small Businesses devise written IT policies and procedures to ensure that best practice is followed. Ideally this should cover:
* Leavers and joiners
* Equipment usage including BYO
* Life cycle replacement
* New device set up and configuration
* Approved application software including measures to prevent and eliminate shadow computing
* Cyber Security and data breach (following National Cyber Security Centre and ICO guidelines)
* Disaster recovery and business continuity
How we can help
By far the best thing that you can do for your small business is to employ a partner who is well-versed in the realm of IT. It might require commitment, but it will certainly pay off in the long term. FOS.net are small business experts and we can help you implement best practice IT Governance policies.
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