To conduct an effective risk assessment, it’s important to be able to fundamentally describe of the purpose of a risk assessment, risk scope and identify critical areas for an assessment. Additionally, a methodology that is appropriate for the risk assessment should be selected. At its core, the purpose of a risk assessment is identifying and evaluating risks that may potentially have a negative impact on an organization. It can help management understand the impact in terms of costs to the organization or the severity of a loss depending on the methodology used to conduct the risk assessment.
The goal is to provide sound recommendations based on the risk assessment to help maintain data confidentiality, integrity and vulnerability while ensuring functionality and usability. Based on the results, management can make more informed decisions about what resources to protect, how to protect them and understand the potential costs and impact. Once the purpose of the sis assessment is understood, defining the scope is next. The scope of a risk assessment is possibly one of the most important steps to be conducted.
The scope defines the limitations and sets the parameters of the risk assessment to ensure it stays within costs and the desired timeshare. The scope identifies the required resources, systems/applications to be assessed and protected, and the level of detail need for the assessment. It will also list the outcomes and the methods and actions to reach the end goal of providing management tit recommendations based-off the final analysis. Understanding the scope of the assessment will also help prevent scope creep.
While the scope is one of the most important steps of a risk assessment, it is also important to identify critical areas for an assessment. The critical areas of a risk assessment will vary depending on the type of assessment being conducted. Identifying critical areas helps the assessment team understand where they need to focus their attention to get the biggest bang for their buck. These should represent the areas that re most critical to and have the greatest impact on the organization.
This part of the process is where the team will decide what data, equipment and other resources require the highest level of protection. When determining the critical areas, the assessment team should keep profitability and survivability in mind, since any decisions will have a direct impact in these areas. After identifying the critical areas and having a better understanding of what data is available, the team can better select the methodology that will be used for the risk assessment.