Why is software risk management important?

Codurance Insights

Codurance Insights

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SM_Risk Management-illu-6As opportunities for innovation and growth are recognised, they are often not without associated risks. Risk management, operational excellence, security and compliance can’t be an afterthought during software development. Managing these risks becomes critical to an organisation’s sustainability. 

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Commonly associated risks can be compliance with regulations, certifications, production issues, and data protection, all of which can increase cost if not completed correctly.

Risk management and mitigation can be achieved by:  

Isolating and introducing tighter controls in critical areas

SM_Risk Management-illu-11Understanding the risk areas is critical to identifying and dealing with all the risks that an organisation may be exposed to. Safety-critical systems are the systems whose failure could result in loss of life, significant damage, or damage to the environment. Being able to Isolate areas such as these to implement tighter control of changes helps ensure risk isn’t subject to a live environment. Isolating areas that require tighter audits, so that changes to unrelated areas do not trigger audits, can also significantly reduce the time and effort needed for maintaining critical systems.audits.

Taking a strategic approach to regulatory compliance

SM_Risk Management-illu-7Authorities worldwide release and update recommendations within the technology environment, including the use of cloud technology. Organisations are expected to adhere to statutory requirements, including technology laws, sectoral laws and regulations. Aligning with regulations should be a strategic approach by businesses, with more thought being given to requirements and development to minimise risk and cost. 

The goal of regulations within software development is to ensure the highest possible quality of the final product whilst also protecting the user (from situations like data leaks). Guidelines are often established for the development process, and following a structured approach helps each step be easily understood. This also allows each step to be reviewed by a senior stakeholder team to ensure regulations are met and can be easily adapted. 

Learn more about how businesses can have the ability to respond to changes (such as regulations) within the market using the Agile approach for product development: 


Use of cloud services to create secure and scalable environments

SM_Risk Management-illu-8Cloud scalability refers to the ability to increase or decrease resources as needed to meet changing demand. Cloud computing unlike physical machines in data centers (whose resources and performance are relatively set), can be easily scaled up or down through ‘just-in-time’ management of available resources. Workloads and applications can be shifted as needed.

This increases convenience and allows for flexibility as businesses can update systems to meet new requirements or increase power and storage. Also, helping with disaster recovery costs by eliminating the need for building and maintaining secondary data centres. 

As Cloud continues to expand in use, cloud providers continue to make a significant investment to ensure data protection and compliance. Many cloud services for business have security features built-in, including encryption, third-party threats, and application role-based authentication.

Auditing and logging designed as first-class citizens—operational requirements

SM_Risk Management-illu-10Software could be designed more effectively to manage risk if logging wasn’t treated as an afterthought or a debugging tool, but rather as an application feature, part of the wider observability requirements. The requirements for logging are being able to remember the events that happen, being able to react to all and different types of events (in multiple ways), understanding the long-term patterns, and to record the events correctly. By ensuring operational excellence during auditing (and the logging step) this helps minimise future risk. 

Operational effectiveness and cost control

SM_Risk Management-illu-9Improving operational effectiveness is not a one-step trick, rather a combined effort from all teams. It’s a mindset to be embraced across the full organisation, which maximises outcomes and helps track and ensure cost control. According to the DevOps mantra, the tip to getting several teams to work together is to de-silo your organisation by creating one single DevOps team that oversees the development, operations, and everything in-between. Operational excellence serves as a cultural goal shared by all teams and team members during the software development and deployment process. By making excellence part and parcel of your culture, you gain a principle that can guide all of your teams

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)

Site reliability engineering is a set of practises and principles that incorporates software engineering and applies them to infrastructure and operational problems. The outcome, to create highly reliable and easily scalable software systems. 

The most common definitions of site reliability engineering principles are as shown: 

  • Automation or elimination of anything repetitive that’s also cost-effective to automate or eliminate.
  • Avoidance to pursue much more reliability than what’s strictly necessary. Defining what’s necessary is a practice by itself.
  • Systems design with a bias toward reduction of risks to availability, latency, and efficiency.
  • Observability, as in, the ability to be able to ask arbitrary questions about your system without having to know ahead of time what you wanted to ask

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