Getting started with Risk Assessment

Blog9 840x410 - Getting started with Risk Assessment

Risk assessment

The ISO defines Risk as being “The effect of uncertainty on an object!”
The “effect” would be any possible outcome that would deviate from the usual objective

We make plans based on various assumptions

We make plans nearly every day, for instance we are going to awake at six am to be ready to leave for work by eight am, leaving about forty minutes for travel time to work we should be there well before nine am because the average trip time to work in my own car, is only twenty minutes so you allow for another twenty incase of unusually heavy traffic.

In making plans we are making a prediction of the future.  We are stating that by following a certain routine or pattern we will achieve our desired result or goal.

In this, we have made various assumptions as to how certain elements and factors that surround us will work and perform.

Sometimes assumptions can misfire, and our predictions can go awry by a near miss or completely off the rails.

Thus, any of the assumptions we had made that were wrong will bring about very different or varied outcomes some that could have a minor effect and others a drastic effect giving rise to various questions:

  • What were our assumptions when we set about constructing the plan?
  • What uncertainty arises about the value of our assumptions?
  • To what degree does our uncertainty vary over those values?
  • What is the potential effect of that uncertainty on the desired outcome?
  • What can be done to cut down on the level of uncertainty?

risk - Getting started with Risk Assessment

Looking at the left for work scenario we would see that the following assumptions were made:

  • My car has enough fuel in it
  • My car is mechanically sound, and I am not expecting any trouble with it
  • There should be no major traffic delays that would delay me beyond the average of twenty minutes
  • There are no route detours or deviations for any reason

Now let’s identify the various risks with this scenario as should just one of these assumptions be wrong it could seriously impact and delay my journey:

  • The car does not start for some reason thus causing a delay whilst I must call a mechanic
  • The car either runs out of fuel or I must stop a petrol station which due to the time of the morning may be incredibly busy which would delay my journey.
  • There is a major detour on the route to work due to roadworks or an accident. Never having takenthe allotted detour, I stand the risk of getting horribly lost which would cause a delay, or due to the amount of traffic being funneled through the detour it causes a major delay in my journey

Conclusion

Risk Assessment is a vital process for any company no matter how large or small.  By establishing the various assumptions of the day-to-day operations and then evaluating the risks factors of those assumptions a company can create a valuable risk treatment and management process.

Risk Assessment vs Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

Blog8 840x410 - Risk Assessment vs Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis

To fully protect a company from disasters, threats, security risks and be fully ISO-compliant it is good practice for them to have both a Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment which is vital to any BCM and Disaster Recovery Plan.

Understanding the differences between Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment

Although the two practices complement each other and the foundations to any good Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan and have some common grounding and overlap they are different processes each contributing necessary information towards an efficient Business Resilience Plan.

Risk Assessment

Is a valuable process by which potential threats are identified and various actions are put in place to either prevent or to minimize the risk thereof by an acceptable degree of loss, downtime or failure.

By systematically managing these potential risks with various resources such a patching of Windows systems, upgrading of alarms, installing better VCR security systems, etc.

Risk Assessment focuses on all potential risks and what their chances of occurring are and it focuses on the potential impact of events.

Risk Assessment also takes the potential risks and breaks it into whatever components may make up the risk, failure, error or causality.

bia - Risk Assessment vs Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

Business Impact Analysis

Uses RTO’s (Recovery Time Objectives) to calculate and assess how a business would fair during downtime.  By assuming worse case scenarios and what the organization would stand to lose under certain conditions.

The Business Impact Analysis or BIA is more concerned with the impact on the stakeholders due to limited or no normal services and what the recovery time would be as to the acceptable tolerance level of such an event.

BIA makes use of various granular statistics and company data such as markets, account impacts etc.
By considering the entire companies operation and what it stands to lose during any disaster, event or crisis that would bring these operations or parts thereof to a stop.

Insight into BIA and Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is usually done after the BIA has been done to priorities and measure the risks identified by the BIA.

The BIA, on the other hand, does not rely on the information from a Risk Assessment for any analytics to be processed.

Conclusion

With the different ISO standards that govern the BIA process and industries adopting these standards as stricter and tighter audit requirements and controls are put into place.  BIA and Risk Assessment practitioner can become quite confused with the different regulatory requirements for each.
With that in mind, there are many Business Continuity Software templates that can aid in the process.

The Coolest Offices From Around the World

Urban Outfitters Headquarters 13 800x420 - The Coolest Offices From Around the World

Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.

Here are some of the best offices around the world:

Autodesk

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Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.

Airbnb

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Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment.  In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.

Pixar

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For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?

WeWork

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WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters Headquarters 13 - The Coolest Offices From Around the World

The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to

Selgas Cano

Selgas Cano Office Iwan Baan4 - The Coolest Offices From Around the World

As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.

Cisco-Meraki

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Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.