Top 4 reasons CIOs get fired (and how to avoid them)

The responsibilities of a CIO are numerous, and they can have serious consequences if mishandled, especially in the healthcare arena.

Here are four main reasons why CIOs lose their job, according to Silverton Consulting.

1. Security breaches: CIOs are almost always held responsible in gaps in security. Whether the cause of the breach is inadequate training, insecure servers or engineers developing insecure software, the CIO oversees these issues.

2. Project failures: When a project fails, the CIO largely takes the fall. Project failures could result from significant cost escalation, inadequate project management or underestimating risk factors.

3. Disaster recovery failures: Inability to recover from disasters in a timely manner ranks third on the list of why CIOs get fired. According to Silverton, disaster recovery plans often exist but aren't updated frequently enough, and IT departments are left to develop recovery plans on-the-go.

4. System collapse: If a system works so well that it hosts more activity than anticipated, the system runs the risk of overload and collapsing. Many team members are generally involved in a system collapse, but the CIO is ultimately held responsible.

However, CIOs can take steps to reduce the risk of such events that could lead to a dismissal of duties. Here are four of those steps, as suggested by Silverton.

1. Increase security to match data privacy: The standard cybersecurity measures, such as updating systems, changing passwords, training personnel on information security and encrypting data, aren't sufficient, suggests Silverton. CIOs should also contract third parties to test IT security. Additionally, security should become a daily IT activity.

2. Split projects into smaller pieces: Mitigate cybersecurity risks by breaking large projects into smaller ones. Silverton also suggests scheduling the more risky elements of projects first. CIOs should assign a "project czar" to oversee and monitor projects, as well as brief CIOs with reviews at certain stages of the project.

3. Plan for recovery: By going through the potential risks of an IT system, CIOs and their teams can determine approximate probabilities of risks and their associated action plans.

4. Design services to scale: According to Silverton, most system scalability issues are preceded by some sort of warning, so tracking daily system activity can help point out weaknesses that can be strengthened to avoid issues.

More articles on CIOs:

CIOs struggle with perception of IT as cost center
3 things keeping CIOs up at night
Few business executives see CIOs as strategic partners, report finds

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