Risk analysis helps organizations secure sensitive information, protect its image and reputation, and meet compliance requirements. A formal risk analysis process includes identifying risk areas and implementing controls to reduce risks to acceptable levels.
The first step in the process is to identify assets that need protection. The assets can be tangible or intangible and generally provide value to the organization. Examples of tangible assets include buildings, employees, computer and network servers, etc. Examples of intangible assets may include intellectual property, custom software presently installed and under development, customer lists, goodwill, etc.
Once the assets have been identified, you will want to identify threats to the assets. The threats can be unintentional or intentional and may include:
- Natural threats (acts of God)
- Accidental or unintentional threats (worker illness, equipment failure)
- Intentional threats such as asset theft and asset tampering (malicious damage)
Once your assets, threats, and vulnerabilities have been identified, you can then evaluate the potential impact or loss. Examples of impact can include the cost of downtime, loss of information, breach of legislation, impact on reputation, loss of opportunity, etc. For each asset, consider the asset value, specific vulnerability, and probability of the event.
The next step in the risk analysis process is to develop controls that help eliminate risks or reduce them to an acceptable levels.
Risk assessments help organizations identify, manage, and reduce their risks.