Risk Control

Risk control is a set of actions to reduce or manage risk.

We usually want to weigh the pros and cons of different actions we can take to address each risk. To that end, we can quantify the effects of a risk by multiplying the risk impact by the risk probability, yielding the risk exposure. For example, if the likelihood of virus attack is 0.3 and the cost to clean up the affected files is $10,000, then the risk exposure is $3,000. So we can use a calculation like this one to decide that a virus checker is worth an investment of $100, since it will prevent a much larger expected potential loss. Clearly, risk probabilities can change over time, so a risk analysis activity should track them and plan for events accordingly.

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Risk is inevitable in life: Crossing the street is risky but that does not keep us from doing it. We can identify, limit, avoid, or transfer risk but we can seldom eliminate it. In general, we have three strategies for dealing with risk:

• avoid the risk by changing requirements for security or other system characteristics

• transfer the risk by allocating the risk to other systems, people, organizations, or assets; or by buying insurance to cover any financial loss should the risk become a reality

• assume the risk by accepting it, controlling it with available resources and preparing to deal with the loss if it occurs

Thus, costs are associated not only with the risk’s potential impact but also with reducing it. Risk leverage is the difference in risk exposure divided by the cost of reducing the risk. In other words, risk leverage is

The leverage measures value for money spent: A risk reduction of $100 for a cost of $10, a 10:1 reduction, is quite a favorable result. If the leverage value of a proposed action is not high enough, then we look for alternative but less costly actions or more effective reduction techniques.