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Risk Assessment Approaches: Quantitative vs. Qualitative

Cybersecurity Risk Management is a critical process that can help your organization reduce its exposure to persistent cyber threats. It effectively prioritizes your organization’s cyber risk concerns by identifying and addressing threats based on the potential impact each threat may pose. According to a 2022 cyberbreach study, the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches rose by 15.1% in 2021 compared to the previous year. The need for an effective cybersecurity risk strategy should be self evident to most organizations as they plan their detection and prevention initiatives.

One tactic that should be in everyone’s risk strategy is a periodic risk analysis. Risk analysis refers to the process of identifying and analyzing weaknesses that can negatively impact your organization’s IT assets. The two common types of risk analyses are quantitative and qualitative assessments. Let’s explore the benefits of both assessments and see how they can minimize your organization’s risk profile. 

Advantages of Quantitative Risk Assessments

Quantitative risk assessments help organizations understand the probability of risk by evaluating risks arising from threats. It uses factual data and cybersecurity analytics to assign a numerical value to a potential threat profile.

    • Weighs and prioritizes risks to understand high-risk areas and overall loss exposure for your organization.
    • Provides precise information due to the measurability and replicability of its data, making it the most reliable and effective tool for cyber risk management.
    • Develops mitigation strategies to be monitored daily and provide ongoing risk management.
    • Focuses on the impact a risk would have on business operations, and results are generally expressed in monetary value.

Advantages of Qualitative Risk Assessments

In contrast, rather than numbers and percentages, qualitative risk analysis is more subjective. This method uses the opinions and viewpoints of various stakeholders to discover how the business would be affected by different risks.

    • Quickly identifies the main areas of risk exposure related to normal business functions.
    • Determines which risks an organization should focus on using a risk assessment matrix.
    • Easier to conduct since it doesn’t rely on data input.
    • Prioritizes risks according to likelihood and impact to give your organization clarity on the tasks to focus on.

Whether you decide on one method or both, a robust risk management strategy should begin with assessing risks within your organization’s cybersecurity system. Quantitative and qualitative risk assessments can help your organization maximize opportunity to see potential risks early and minimize the consequences of cyber threats.

At Computer Solutions, our security experts can help you can stay ahead of potential risks by conducting an assessment and implementing a custom mitigation strategy. We can identify security gaps and evaluate your overall security risk posture to give your business the protection plan it needs. Contact us today to learn more about how Computer Solutions can help with your threat protection.