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Risk Analysis and Management

To assess the vulnerability of failure within the configuration and capability of the IT service and support organization it is recommended that existing or proposed IT infrastructure, service configurations, Service Design and supporting organization (internal and external suppliers) are subject to formal Risk Analysis and Management exercises. Risk Analysis and Management is a technique that can be used to identify and quantify risks and justifiable countermeasures that can be implemented to protect the availability of IT systems. The identification of risks and the provision of justified countermeasures to reduce or eliminate the threats posed by such risks can play an important role in achieving the required levels of availability for a new or enhanced IT service. Risk Analysis should be undertaken during the design phase for the IT technology and service to identify:

  • Risks that may incur unavailability for IT components within the technology and Service Design
  • Risks that may incur confidentiality and/or integrity exposures within the IT technology and Service Design.

Most risk assessment and management methodologies involve the use of a formal approach to the assessment of risk and the subsequent mitigation of risk with the implementation of subsequent cost-justifiable countermeasures, as illustrated in Figure 4.20.

Figure 4.20 Risk Analysis and Management

Risk Analysis involves the identification and assessment of the level (measure) of the risks calculated from the assessed values of assets and the assessed levels of threats to, and vulnerabilities of, those assets. Risk is also determined to a certain extent by its acceptance. Some organizations and businesses may be more willing to accept risk whereas others cannot.

Risk management involves the identification, selection and adoption of countermeasures justified by the identified risks to assets in terms of their potential impact on services if failure occurs, and the reduction of those risks to an acceptable level. Risk management is an activity that is associated with many other activities, especially ITSCM, Security Management and Service Transition. All of these risk assessment exercises should be coordinated rather than being separate activities.

This approach, when applied via a formal method, ensures coverage is complete, together with sufficient confidence that:

  • All possible risks and countermeasures have been identified
  • All vulnerabilities have been identified and their levels accurately assessed
  • All threats have been identified and their levels accurately assessed
  • All results are consistent across the broad spectrum of the technology reviewed
  • All expenditure on selected countermeasures can be justified.

Formal Risk Analysis and Management methods are now an important element in the overall design and provision of IT services. The assessment of risk is often based on the probability and potential impact of an event occurring. Countermeasures are implemented wherever they are cost-justifiable, to reduce the impact of an event, or the probability of an event occurring, or both.

Management of Risk (M_o_R) provides an alternative generic framework for the management of risk across all parts of an organization – strategic, programme, project and operational. It incorporates all the activities required to identify and control the exposure to any type of risk, positive or negative, that may have an impact on the achievement of your organization’s business objectives.

M_o_R provides a framework that is tried, tested and effective to help you eliminate – or manage – the risks involved in reaching your goals. M_o_R adopts a systematic application of principles, approach and processes to the task of identifying, assessing and then planning and implementing risk responses. Guidance stresses a collaborative approach and focuses on the following key elements:

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