How to Establish Danger Appetite in the Context of Organization Continuity

By Brian Zawada &amp Jacque Rupert, Avalution Consulting
Write-up originally posted on Avalution Consulting&rsquos Blog

The introduction of ISO 22301 (Societal security &ndash Requirements &ndash Enterprise continuity management system) far more closely aligns company continuity to the broader danger management discipline. A main contributor to this alignment is the common&rsquos requirement to realize the organization&rsquos &ldquorisk appetite&rdquo (a term not used in BS 25999).&nbsp

ISO 22301&rsquos definition of threat appetite (Section 3.49) is the &ldquoamount and variety of risk that an organization is willing to pursue or retain&rdquo. The regular makes reference to risk appetite in two sections:

ISO 22301 and Danger Appetite

In addition, the authors of the guidance document supporting ISO 22301, titled ISO DIS 22313, make one particular further reference to threat appetite in the section focused on establishing the context for the business continuity management technique:

ISO 22301 and Danger Appetite

For these searching for alignment with or certification to ISO 22301, organization continuity professionals (or those charged with enterprise continuity planning) should realize the idea of risk appetite and address the needs outlined above.&nbsp

Please note: the goal of this post is not to provide a comprehensive, theoretical understanding of risk appetite, as other whitepapers and info sources already do this, but rather to introduce the idea to company continuity professionals and offer you insight on leveraging and &ldquoimplementing&rdquo this idea in our profession.

The Relationship Amongst Danger Appetite and Business Continuity
We think the contributors to ISO 22301 integrated the notion of threat appetite (&ldquoamount and type of risk that an organization is willing to pursue or retain&rdquo) into a enterprise continuity management program standard for two important factors:

  1. Organizations ought to view danger appetite as all-encompassing, incorporating all places of threat, including the company continuity-associated risks linked with disruptive incidents and&nbsp
  2. Utilizing danger appetite to adequately scope and support a business continuity management system aids align business continuity to organizational strategy and other risk management efforts, enabling organization continuity to better integrate into broader threat management.&nbsp

Further, when carried out effectively, risk appetite becomes a key input to (and it could overlap considerably with) a company continuity management system&rsquos scope and objectives.&nbsp

Keys to Determining Threat Appetite
As noted above, many sources of information are obtainable that describe the concept of danger appetite and the greatest method for determining an organization&rsquos danger appetite. Avalution analyzed these sources to aid further understand how to most properly help our clientele in determining and documenting their danger appetites as it pertains to organization continuity preparing, as properly as integrate the notion into our own company continuity system (since we are actively transitioning from BS 25999-two to ISO 22301 within our organization). One particular of the most valuable sources we identified is a white paper published by the Institute for Danger Management (IRM), which introduced a quantity of &ldquodesign&rdquo aspects the authors considered as important to figuring out danger appetite. 3 of these design aspects, or considerations, are paraphrased below, which we located aids to better realize and decide danger appetite:&nbsp

  1. An organization&rsquos danger appetite is &ndash or should be &ndash measurable&nbsp
  2. The acceptability of threat must have a time (temporal) consideration, to ensure periodic assessment (given organizational and environmental alter)&nbsp
  3. Threat acceptance ought to not have anything to do with relaxing controls (risk treatment options)&nbsp

With this stated, and in our opinion, some of the sources of data &ndash other than executive management &ndash that organizations really should evaluate when figuring out danger appetite incorporate:

  • Annual reports and monetary statements&nbsp
  • Consumer contracts&nbsp
  • Regulatory requirements&nbsp
  • Business strategic plans&nbsp
  • Marketing and advertising materials&nbsp
  • Board meeting minutes&nbsp

Although we will not go into additional detail on determining threat appetite, these looking for extra data should contemplate reviewing the following:

  • COSO &ndash Understanding and Communicating Danger Appetite&nbsp
  • ERM Symposium &ndash Cremonino&nbsp
  • Towers Perrin &ndash ERM Threat Appetite&nbsp
  • COSO &ndash ERM Executive Summary&nbsp

Instance &ndash Risk Appetite at Avalution
In transitioning from BS 25999-2 to ISO 22301, we had to understand how risk appetite pertains to our business continuity management method, provided that this is a new formalized requirement essential for certification. Using the guidance and method described in the previous section of this article, we documented our risk appetite summary as follows:

In 2012, we are willing to tolerate a finite amount of downtime as long as it does not outcome in the following:

  1. Damaged reputation among our clients that leads to broader, unfavorable market place perception
  2. Missed service level agreements particular to The Preparing Portal and BC Catalyst&nbsp
  3. Financial loss in excess of $ 50,000
  4. Project delays of much more than three days due to resource disruption and lost information

In order to align our existing organization continuity system with this statement relating to danger appetite, Avalution management intends to staff and appropriately resource our enterprise continuity management program to minimize downtime in the most effective, pragmatic manner feasible.&nbsp

As noted earlier in this short article, this statement aligns with the IRM style considerations, specifically:

  • It aligns to our merchandise and services, as well as our organization&rsquos strategic priorities, and hence the scope of our company continuity management program&nbsp
  • It delivers quantifiable techniques to measure risk&nbsp
  • It notes a time element (2012)&nbsp
  • It notes where our management team accepts a level of risk, which frees resources to boost our company, services and technology, as effectively as invest in our men and women&nbsp

Danger appetite is an critical idea that involves strategic, operational and tactical elements &ndash all of which influence the productive implementation and continual improvement of a business continuity management program. Taking into consideration threat appetite as element of organization continuity organizing allows business continuity to far more closely align with threat management efforts, enabling enterprise continuity efforts to focus mostly on the risks management is unwilling to accept regarding critical items, services, business processes and resources (all of which an organization should obviously document within its danger appetite). Understanding the boundaries &ndash based on an acceptable level of threat &ndash introduces focus and clarity in arranging, which outcomes in greater levels of effectiveness and efficiency in safeguarding an organization&rsquos most time-sensitive or vital activities.&nbsp

Further, considering danger appetite in the context of organization continuity planning really should support management frame organization continuity in relation to how they currently think about the broader subject of dangers to the organization, with the danger of disruptive incidents becoming only one particular factor to consider. Aligning the organization continuity work to how management already thinks (on a strategic level) really should contribute to a stronger, clearer value proposition for the preparedness effort, which ought to allow long-term support and management involvement.&nbsp

Due to the benefits outlined throughout this short article, Avalution believes that the idea of threat appetite is a welcome addition to ISO 22301, and one particular that organization continuity specialists must find out far more about in order to be an active participant in a broader threat management effort.


Brian Zawada, Director of Consulting &amp Jacque Rupert, Managing Consultant
Avalution Consulting: Company Continuity Consulting

Our consulting group frequently publishes perspectives (shorter, independent articles) that touch on the trends currently affecting our profession and the strategic troubles facing our clientele. This is one particular of our most current posts, but the complete catalog of our perspectives &ndash over 100 published because 2005 &ndash can be accessed by means of our weblog.

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