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Beating IT Risks by Luke Silcock, Ernest Jordan

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Chapter 1. Thriving on risk

Every time we take a plane we are riding on a pinnacle of risk. The 400 tons of 'impossibility' takes off, gets to our destination and lands – almost always! We take the risk for business opportunities, recreation or just the fun of it. The world is one where we take risks, all the time. It is part of the human condition. It is also part of the business condition. Some of the risks come to the front of our radar; others fade into the background, of others we remain unaware. Logically, we would expect the higher risks to be up on the radar, and the lower risks to be in the background, but that is often not the case.

We need to take risks in every business venture. There is always a possibility that things won't work out as expected. But it is essential that we do take risks. Any active strategy involves clear risks – that may make it unattractive – but a passive, do-nothing strategy also has risks. Typically these are not as clear and so are not as daunting. The important thing is to know what the risks are, to be aware of them and to have options available when the unfortunate eventuates.

This chapter is an executive summary of the book that gives the reader in a hurry access to the ideas, challenges and solutions that we offer. It also serves as a guide to the structure of the book, allowing you to identify your areas of most urgent need and proceed directly there. Of necessity detailed arguments and references are deferred to the later chapters. Chapters ...

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