11 Nov

8 Assess the risks

After you have identified the risks and the levels of confidentiality, integrity, and availability, you will need to assign values to the risks. The values will help you determine if the risk is tolerable or not and whether you need to implement a control to either eliminate or reduce the risk. To assign values to risks, you need to consider:

  • The value of the asset being protected
  • The frequency with which the threat or vulnerability might occur
  • The damage that the risk might inflict on the company or its customers or partners

For example, you might assign values of Low, Medium, and High to your risks. To determine which value to assign, you might decide that if the value of an asset is high and the damage from a specified risk is high, the value of the risk should also be high, even though the potential frequency is low. Your Risk Assessment Methodology document should tell you what values to use and might also specify the circumstances under which specific values should be assigned. Also, be sure to refer to your Risk Assessment Methodology document to determine the implication of a certain risk value. For example, to keep your ISMS manageable, your Risk Assessment Methodology might specify that only risks with a value of Medium or High will require a control in your ISMS. Based on your business needs and industry standards, risk will be assigned appropriate values.
What you will need:

  • Lists of assets and their associated risks and CIA levels, which you created in the previous step.
  • Possibly input from management as to what level of risk they are willing to accept for specific assets.

Results:
When you have completed your assessment, you will have identified which information assets have intolerable risk and therefore require controls. You should have a document (sometimes referred to as a Risk Assessment Report) that indicates the risk value for each asset. In the next step you will identify which controls might be applicable for the assets that require control in order to reduce the risk to tolerable levels. This document can either be standalone or it can be part of an overall Risk Assessment document that contains your risk assessment methodology and this risk assessment.
Examples:
If you used a table similar to the one in the preceding examples, your result after completing this step might look like the following example: