What is a risk assessment?
Once a business impact analysis (BIA) has been completed, you will have an excellent view of how your organization operates, what it needs to operate, and how quickly critical systems and data must be recovered for the business unit to resume normal operations. It’s also important to identify external and internal risks and threats to the operational issues identified in the BIA.
Conduct a risk assessment to identify situations that may produce disruptive events to your organization. For example, an internal threat may be the potential for an employee to damage a server, corrupt a critical application, or shut down power to critical systems. External threats can range from severe weather to earthquakes, unauthorized entry into your building, or vandalism.
The risk assessment not only identifies the external and internal risks and threats, it can also identify your organization's vulnerabilities. Analyzing each threat for likelihood of occurrence and potential damage rendered will help you pinpoint specific threat conditions you will address in your disaster recovery plans. Combine this risk data with BIA results and you will be able to zero in on those business functions that are at the greatest risk and represent the greatest potential loss to the organization.
This was first published in February 2012