IN the wake of natural disaster in Queensland, a local firm has called on business to heighten risk management around in-house information and communication technology (ICT).
Queensland law firm HopgoodGanim has highlighted the benefits for Australian companies of putting ICT governance and business continuity to the front of their minds in the wake of the recent natural disasters in the state.
During a recent seminar held in conjunction with the Australian Computer Society, Michael Morris and Hayden Delaney of HopgoodGanim’s information and communications technology team addressed senior members of Brisbane’s ICT community on the need for better understanding of ICT objectives and risks in Australian boardrooms.
Morris and Delaney cautioned against a reactive approach to ICT governance, whereby it is only bought to mind when something goes wrong.
According to Morris, one of the barriers to better governance is miscommunication.
“While boards and executive management have a responsibility to put appropriate systems in place, IT managers also have a responsibility to facilitate and support this process. Boards will be relying on IT managers to articulate ICT business risks in a language they can understand - in the same way a lawyer has a responsibility to deliver advice to a client in a language it understands, without the techno-babble or legal jargon.
“ICT governance should not be a discussion about technology; it should be a discussion about maximising business value and minimising business risk.”
Morris said that internationally, the law is paying closer attention to the issue of ICT governance, and it won’t be long before that trend reaches Australia.
“It’s only a matter of time until an ICT failure causes substantial damage to Australian shareholders. Once that happens, it’s possible we will start to see a few high profile cases involving alleged breaches of the Corporations Act and directors’ duties of care,” adds Delaney.
Delaney, meanwhile, said failing to have proper systems in place to ensure business continuity during a natural disaster could, in certain circumstances, constitute a breach of an officer’s duty of care and diligence under the Corporations Act.
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