Risk analysis

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NASA's illustration showing high impact risk areas for the International Space Station

Risk analysis has been defined in many different ways, and much of the definition depends on how risk analysis relates to other concepts. Risk analysis can be "broadly defined to include risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk management, and policy relating to risk, in the context of risks of concern to individuals, to public- and private-sector organizations, and to society at a local, regional, national, or global level."[1]

In business and project management, risk analysis is a process that involves "gathering data and synthesizing information to develop an understanding of the risk of a particular enterprise".[2] The data analyzed will include "identifying assets and threats, prioritizing the related vulnerabilities, and identifying appropriate measures and protections".[3] Risk analysis is part of the large process of risk management, and is one of the various risk management tools. In some jurisdictions, a person may become a Certified Risk Analyst.

There are two general groupings of risk analysis techniques. These are qualitative risk analysis, which is "the process of prioritizing risks for further analysis by assessing and combining their probability of occurrence and impact", and quantitative risk analysis, which is "the process of numerically analyzing the effect of identified risks on overall project objectives".[4] Either or both approaches may be taken with respect to a particular project or problem.

Specific types of risk analysis include:

Analysis may also be done to measure political risk.


  1. ^ Society for Risk Analysis, "About the Society for Risk Analysis"
  2. ^ J. S. Arendt, D K. Lorenzo, Evaluating Process Safety in the Chemical Industry (2010), p. 2.
  3. ^ Hossein Bidgoli, Handbook of Information Security, Threats, Vulnerabilities, Prevention, Detection, and Management (2006), p. 951.
  4. ^ Michael S. Dobson, Deborah Singer Dobson, Project Risk and Cost Analysis (2011), p. 49.