BCP Life Cycle Stage 1 - Risk Assessment

by Scott Owens, PMP, CBCP on August 15th, 2011

Today's post will be the first in a series to discuss the stages in the BCP Life Cycle. In order to properly design and implement a business continuity solution that provides the appropriate approach for an organization, you should consider all the stages in the BCP Life Cycle. Each stage provides a focused set of activities to gather information, provide analysis, design solutions, build documentation, or other steps. And while many stages could be performed independently, without a holistic view of the inputs to and outputs from each stage, it is likely that the end product from a stage is not optimal.

Risk Assessment is the first stage in the BCP Life Cycle. Many of our readers are probably familiar with Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and the processes surrounding this organizational exercise. Much of the Risk Assessment overlaps with ERM. The goal in this stage is to understand high level risks to the organization from all facets - physical, environmental, social, political, operational, and more. A typical Risk Assessment identifies approximately 100 key risk items, and then provides analysis to quantify these risks in a consistent stratification model. The model generally uses a scoring metric or cost as the measuring point.

So why should you care about a Risk Assessment? Because most organizations do not have a an unlimited budget to spend on all the risk items. Nearly every company needs to prioritize the spending and planning, and many items are simply not going to make the cut. So without taking the time to complete a Risk Analysis, you might not have a complete picture of what is really important.

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