Business Continuity Tip of the Month

The problem with probability

A typical risk assessment process involves the identification of potential risks, which are then quantified and rated, based on the likelihood of the risk occurring and the impact if it does.

Sometimes other terms, such as “probability”, “frequency”, “consequences” or “severity” are used in place of likelihood and impact. To a large extent, it doesn’t really matter which you use – whichever you feel more comfortable with.

You might just bear in mind, however, that the word “probability” can suggest a mathematical or scientific exactness that may not actually exist, which may be a good reason to avoid it.

In truth, risk management isn’t an exact science and, whilst those obsessed with statistics might argue otherwise, the “probability” of unexpected events is largely unknown.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t give it some thought. Probably!



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