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How To Mitigate Risk When Integrating Software

Steps to mitigate risks when implementing and integrating software.

Integrating software has enormous potential advantages, allowing you to coordinate multiple systems together and create a single source of truth for your organization. But there are also some risks to implementing new software and integrating software. What steps can you take to mitigate these risks as inexpensively as possible?

The Value of Integration

Integrating various software platforms together can be advantageous in many ways. You might be interested in pulling data from one location to another location. Your goal could be to consolidate multiple platforms together, so everyone has a single source of truth (SSOT) to work from. You might also be interested in augmenting the total capabilities of your organization, or reducing costs by piecing together a different collection of complementary technologies.

In any case, integration could be exactly what you need. But you also need to understand that every integration introduces new risks. If you aren’t able to coordinate an integration successfully, you could open the door to cybersecurity vulnerabilities that jeopardize your sensitive information, as well as the information of your end users.

Fortunately, there are some straightforward strategies you can use to mitigate risk when integrating software.

Specific Risks of Software Integration

Let’s go over some of the biggest risks of software integration:

· Security. Security is likely your biggest concern, as it should be. Any problem with coding or implementation could result in a significant vulnerability.

· Cost. It’s important to control your costs carefully so your project doesn’t go over budget.

· Technical hurdles and incompatibility. Some integrations are simpler than others. If you run into a problem you don’t know how to solve, it could threaten the entire project.

· Service disruptions. When integrating, you may be forced to deal with lengthy service disruptions.

How to Mitigate Risk When Integrating Software

Nothing is perfectly secure. There are always going to be vulnerabilities and risks when working with technology. Still, these strategies and tactics can help you reduce your risk to the minimum when planning for a software integration:

· Start with a plan. Every project should start with a comprehensive plan. This can help you sort out whether the integration is worth it, identify specific risks and vulnerabilities you want to mitigate, and establish a timetable for the integration. The better you understand the scope of the project, the less likely you’ll be to run into trouble later on. In your discussions with the team, talk about any and all potential issues that may arise.

· Hire trustworthy developers. If you already have a trustworthy team of developers, you can skip this step. Otherwise, be careful who you hire. You need to make sure all your developers are trained, competent, and serious about integration security. If one of your developers cuts corners, you could end up in a very vulnerable position.

· Create backups. Backups and recovery are a central part of any cybersecurity strategy. They’re especially important when you’re planning a software integration. At frequent intervals throughout development, create full backups of all your most important information. This way, if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore everything to a previous version.

· Vet third parties. Don’t assume that the third parties you’re working with are as serious about security as you are. Vet them properly, studying their documentation and ensuring that their products aren’t going to cause any issues for you.

· Stay up to date. Some security vulnerabilities arise simply because a user failed to update their software. If you’re using outdated APIs, or if your systems aren’t up to date in other areas, you could be introducing an unnecessary vulnerability.

· Thoroughly review your new code. Poor error handling, SQL injection vulnerabilities, and memory overflow problems are just a few examples of how poor coding can lead to extra security vulnerabilities. Always take the time to thoroughly review your new code.

· Rely on accepted certification authorities. If you want your encryption to work as intended, you need your SSL certificate to be validated. Unfortunately, cybercriminals often exploit this by using fake certificates or specific programs to grab information they shouldn’t be authorized to access. You can avoid this issue by relying only on accepted certification authorities.

· Remember your end users. Don’t forget about your end users. Even if you’re able to integrate your software smoothly, securely, and successfully, small mistakes by your end users could still lead to cybersecurity problems. Make sure your end users are trained and educated on the fundamentals of cybersecurity, from choosing strong passwords to backing up their most important information.

Some integrations are straightforward, requiring little from you in terms of time, money, or effort. But regardless of the complexity of the project, it’s your responsibility to incorporate the risk mitigation strategies necessary to keep your organization and your end users protected.

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