PwC launches service to curb risk

New risk management tools are required for today''s technology dependent companies.

Ever attempted to transact a forward foreign exchange at the rate of your dreams only to be thwarted by a server failure? Or spent hours putting the latest company figures together only to lose those numbers in a cyber hole before you had a chance to Ctrl+S? You are not alone.

Y2K fears may have fizzled, but with the slew of new e-commerce operations and accompanying technologies popping up like flowers in springtime, technology dependent companies must not be complacent in technology risk management.

The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) "Technology Barometer" survey shows that almost one inĂ¡10 technology-dependant businesses experienced an operational breakdown or other failure. Andrew Watkins, PwC Global Risk Management Solutions partner points to the initial problems at Chek Lap Kok and computer glitches at the New Territories border crossing as examples of what can go wrong.

What local peculiarities do CFOs in Asia have to deal with? Unreliable infrastructure and climate are on top of the list. Dealing with typhoons, floods, earthquakes, power blackouts and antiquated systems are all part and parcel of doing business in Asia. But risk management consultants say that a proactive approach and "engineering" resilience measures into systems would avoid such problems from the outset.

PwC has developed an Operational Resilience service, which focuses on preventing service disruption for high-dependency and continuous-availability services. This service aims to provide an essential foundation for companies striving to escalate the volume of business conducted via the internet by establishing trust in the customer.

Scott Curl, senior risk manager for IT at BT in Sydney, warns that in their haste to climb on to the e-bandwagon, some company websites may not be able to deliver the same service as their "bricks and mortar" counterparts.

However, the PwC survey shows that a high percentage of technology business leaders understand and are concerned about executing their strategies and having the appropriate technology and safeguards to deliver them.

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