Initech Inc., Risk Scenario PRE-READ

I participated in an advanced FAIR training session recently with a very small group of peers from my employer. It was great training, great collaboration, and was actually the formal kick-off to a special project I am leading regarding risk quantification. During the course of this training, I was reminded of a few things that I think are important to remember about risk scenarios – especially given the upcoming posts where I will post risk scenarios and my analysis.

1.    Training risk scenarios – whether reflective of actual incidents or purely made up – need to be structured enough to minimize “what-if” and or hypothetical questions. During this training event, I brought to the table what I thought was a “simple” risk scenario that I expected would take maybe 10 minutes to work through – it took about 30 minutes (there were 7 people chiming in). Everyone has a different perspective when looking and dealing with risk. So, to be effective at writing risk scenarios, I think each scenario needs to be framed up to account for at least 80-90% of the relevant information one needs to truly assess the scenario. Anything greater then 90% may be time prohibitive. Feel free to provide comments about the structure of the risk scenarios I present – what is the missing information you need? Ask yourself if the information you need is something that would only be applicable in your environment versus universal information that should have been included in the scenario.

2.    I will use the FAIR methodology to assess the risk for these scenarios. There are four FAIR certifications that can be earned – you can get more details at RMI’s website. I am currently certified as a “FAIR Analyst” and a “FAIR Senior Analyst”. For the risk scenarios I post, I will reference a freely available FAIR tool called the “Basic Risk Assessment Guide” (BRAG) and stick with basic FAIR concepts for the actual risk assessment. This approach should allow for an easier understanding of FAIR concepts and overtime, the complexity of the scenarios will be easier to digest. Of course, I would recommend reading the FAIR white paper but I am hoping that the risk scenarios will still give an adequate representation of FAIR.

3.    In the BRAG that is available from RMI – in the loss magnitude section – there is a table for loss magnitude severity with dollar value ranges. The values listed in the BRAG should be replaced with dollar value ranges more reflective of your company – especially if you start to adopt FAIR and use it on a regular basis. Determining these ranges should be an exercise that includes information security, IT, legal, business folks, and probably others I have not listed. In the case of the Initech risk scenarios – I have modified the loss magnitude severity table and posted it on the Initech, Inc. page.

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