General Risk Assessment Model
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This course is one of four courses covering Domain 1 of the CSSLP. This course explores the topic of risk management.

Learning Objectives

The objectives of this course are to provide you with an understanding of:

  • Risk management problem space and management flow

  • Definitions, terminology, and types of risks

  • Control Categories and Functions

  • Cost-Benefit Assessment

  • General Risk Assessment Model

  • Overall Control Objectives

Intended Audience

This course is designed for those looking to take the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)​ certification.


Any experience relating to information security would be advantageous, but not essential.  All topics discussed are thoroughly explained and presented in a way allowing the information to be absorbed by everyone, regardless of experience within the security field.


If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at


So, so far we've talked a great deal about risk management, risk analysis and the various factors involved. Now let's stop here for a moment and take a look at the process where all of these techniques will be employed. Here, you see a general risk assessment model that we find in almost every form of source for us to use in calculation of risk.

We start at the 12 o'clock position where we do risk identification. In this step we're going to assess our assets and assess our vulnerabilities. As you move around to the two o'clock position, we're going to analyze these risk elements through the employment of qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative, to validate that the scenario that we're depicting is real, has a real probability of occurring, and quantitative methods to begin the process of applying probabilities and dollar values to them.

At the three o'clock position, we're going to assess the impact level or frequency of occurrence of these loss scenarios and begin the process of prioritization of candidates. So far, we're considering the likelihood, the risk determination, it's nature and the cost benefit analysis as we move through the process.

When we get to the five o'clock position, we start the process of risk response planning, for mitigation, assignment, acceptance, or other means of offsetting the risk. At the six o'clock position, we've completed our analysis of the environment as we find it, and we've made our decisions about how we're going to prioritize the candidates and begin the process of determining specifics for mitigation, assignment or acceptance strategies to employ, to reduce the overall risk.

At the seven o'clock position, we are now going to evaluate the project that we have built from the six o'clock plan formation and execution step. We're always going to evaluate how we've done because first we take nothing for granted. Second, not everything we may have planned will have worked as we had intended or wanted. And we must evaluate where we actually ended up so that we can weigh the intended risk outcome with the true risk outcome.

From there, we're going to assess whether we need to do additional measures or we have adequately done the job that we intended to do. We're going to take the knowledge capture there at the nine o'clock position, and we're going to filter it into all of our steps. Here, we're going to consolidate what we've done, capture the knowledge, and then use it for the future, because what we're attempting to do is determine how good our strategy is and how well it performs, learn from this experience as we build from each time we do this so that the next time we do it, we do a better job. And since we cannot abolish or remove all risk, we're going to have to set up some form of an early detection or a continuous monitoring system.

So there at the 10 o'clock position, that's what we put in place. And then as a normal process, we will have risk management done on a day in day out basis, where on a smaller scale, as we encounter various risk threat scenarios, we will do this process again. Now there in the middle, you see a communication circles showing arrows, showing communication is being done through all of these steps.

One of the most important things that we can do in a process like this is ensure that we are communicating with all of the stakeholders as we go through our process, getting direction, providing information, ensuring that the decision-making process is kept well addressed and well-informed all the way through.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Mr. Leo has been in Information System for 38 years, and an Information Security professional for over 36 years.  He has worked internationally as a Systems Analyst/Engineer, and as a Security and Privacy Consultant.  His past employers include IBM, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Rockwell International.  A NASA contractor for 22 years, from 1998 to 2002 he was Director of Security Engineering and Chief Security Architect for Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.  From 2002 to 2006 Mr. Leo was the Director of Information Systems, and Chief Information Security Officer for the Managed Care Division of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.


Upon attaining his CISSP license in 1997, Mr. Leo joined ISC2 (a professional role) as Chairman of the Curriculum Development Committee, and served in this role until 2004.   During this time, he formulated and directed the effort that produced what became and remains the standard curriculum used to train CISSP candidates worldwide.  He has maintained his professional standards as a professional educator and has since trained and certified nearly 8500 CISSP candidates since 1998, and nearly 2500 in HIPAA compliance certification since 2004.  Mr. leo is an ISC2 Certified Instructor.