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36 Types of Technology Risk

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Technology risk is the potential for technology incidents or shortfalls to result in losses. This includes the potential for project failures, operational problems and information security incidents. The following are common types of technology risk.

Architecture Risk

IT structures that fail to support operations or projects.

Artificial Intelligence Risks

A special category of risk associated with technologies that learn and self improve.

Asset Management Risk

Failure to control IT assets such as loss of mobile devices.

Audit Risk

The chance that an IT audit will miss things such as security vulnerabilities or legacy risks.


Downtime of IT services.

Benefit Shortfall

Investments in IT that fail to achieve projected return on investment.

Budget Risk

IT programs, projects or operations teams that go over budget. In many cases, going under budget is considered a positive risk.

Capacity Risk

Capacity management failures such as an overloaded network connection that causes inefficiencies such as process failures.

Change Control

A failure to control change to complex systems including practices such as change management and configuration management.

Compliance Violations

The potential that you will violate laws or regulations.

Contract Risk

A counterparty that fails to meet its contractual obligations to you such as violations of a service level agreement.

Data Loss

Loss of data that can not be restored.

Data Quality

Poor quality data that causes losses due to factors such as process failures, compliance issues or declining customer satisfaction.

Decision Quality

Sub-optimal decision automation or inaccurate decision support information such as analytics.

Design Debt

A low quality design that results in future costs.

Facility Risk

Risks related to facilities such as data centers.

Infrastructure Risk

Failures of basic services such as networks, power and computing resources.

Innovation Risk

A special category of risk associated with experimentation and aggressive rates of change. Typically requires novel approaches to risk management such as designing activities to fail well.

Integration Risk

The potential for integration of organizations, departments, processes, technology or data to fail.

Legacy Technology

Technology that is out of the date to the extent that it is difficult to maintain and at risk of failures.

Operational Risk

The potential for technology failures to disrupt core business processes.

Partner Risk

Risks associated with technology partners such as service providers.

Physical Security

Physical security related to IT such as security at data centers.

Process Risk

The potential for processes to be disrupted by IT failures.

Procurement Risk

Procurement is the purchasing of services, products and resources. It is prone to a number of risks including the chance of fraud, cost and quality issues.

Project Risk

In many cases, IT projects have a high rate of failure due to a number of risk factors such as scope creep, estimation errors and resistance to change.

Quality Risk

Failures of quality assurance and other quality related practices such as service management.

Regulatory Risk

The potential for new information technology related regulations.

Resource Risk

An inability to secure resources such as skilled employees.

Security Threats

Security threats such as malware and hackers.

Security Vulnerabilities

Security vulnerabilities such as weak passwords and poorly designed software.

Single Point Of Failure

A small component of a large system that brings the entire system down when it fails.

Strategy Risk

The risks associated with a particular IT strategy.

Technical Debt

Weak technology implementations that are likely to result in future costs such as a big ball of mud.

Transaction Processing Risk

Failures of transaction processing such as ecommerce purchases.

Vendor Risk

The potential for an IT vendor to fail to meet their obligations to you.


Technology risks are identified with formal processes that evaluate both vulnerabilities such as legacy technologies and threats such as technical failures. It is also common for all stakeholders of a system or service to be given an opportunity to identify technology risks to your organization. This can be managed with a series of risk workshops or interviews. Once identified, risks are recorded in a risk register with estimates of their probability and impact. The following are basic technology risk identification processes.
Asset Inventory
Identify all technology assets within an organization. This can include indicators of their health such as whether they are still supported by vendors.
Threat Analysis
The process of identifying threats such as cybersecurity threats, technical failures, human error and bugs.
Vulnerability Assessment
Identify weaknesses in platforms, systems, networks, processes, applications and assets including external elements such as cloud platforms and network providers.
Regulatory Risk Assessment
Identify the impact of upcoming or potential regulations.
Compliance Risk Assessment
The risk of compliance violations such as inadequate controls, lack of documentation or incidents.
System Risk Assessments
Identify vulnerabilities and threats at the system level. This engages the people who know the system best at the architectural, implementation and user levels.
Process Risk Assessments
Identify risks to end-to-end processes including technology risks to business processes and risks to technology operations processes themselves.
Data Risk Assessments
Identifying data assets and risks related to data availability, data security, data quality, data compliance, data maintenance and data management.
Third-Party Risk Assessments
Create an inventory of all third-party vendors, suppliers and service providers. Identify risks for each including cybersecurity risks, data privacy risks, compliance risks, operational risks and reputational risks.
Business Continuity Planning
Identifying the risks associated with major adverse events such as natural disasters, major technological disruptions or political instability.
Emerging Threat Identification
The process of continually monitoring the threat landscape. Particularly important for cybersecurity.


Technology risk is the potential for technology shortfalls, issues, incidents or failures to have a negative impact.The main components of technology risk are operational risk, project risk, compliance risk, legacy risk and cybersecurity risk.

Technology Risk

This is the complete list of articles we have written about technology risk.
Architecture Risk
Business Risks
Compliance Risks
Data Risks
Design Debt
Facility Risk
Fail Well
Integration Risk
IT Risks
Legacy Systems
Positive Risk
Progress Trap
Project Risk
Risk Management
Scope Creep
Technology Risk
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