The Security Risk Assessment Handbook: A Complete Guide for Performing Security Risk Assessments, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Security Risk Assessment Handbook

A Complete Guide for Performing Security Risk Assessments, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Douglas Landoll

CRC Press

495 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439821480
pub: 2011-05-20
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Conducted properly, information security risk assessments provide managers with the feedback needed to understand threats to corporate assets, determine vulnerabilities of current controls, and select appropriate safeguards. Performed incorrectly, they can provide the false sense of security that allows potential threats to develop into disastrous losses of proprietary information, capital, and corporate value.

Picking up where its bestselling predecessor left off, The Security Risk Assessment Handbook: A Complete Guide for Performing Security Risk Assessments, Second Edition gives you detailed instruction on how to conduct a risk assessment effectively and efficiently. Supplying wide-ranging coverage that includes security risk analysis, mitigation, and risk assessment reporting, this updated edition provides the tools needed to solicit and review the scope and rigor of risk assessment proposals with competence and confidence.

Trusted to assess security for leading organizations and government agencies, including the CIA, NSA, and NATO, Douglas Landoll unveils the little-known tips, tricks, and techniques used by savvy security professionals in the field. He details time-tested methods to help you:

  • Better negotiate the scope and rigor of security assessments
  • Effectively interface with security assessment teams
  • Gain an improved understanding of final report recommendations
  • Deliver insightful comments on draft reports

The book includes charts, checklists, and sample reports to help you speed up the data gathering, analysis, and document development process. Walking you through the process of conducting an effective security assessment, it provides the tools and up-to-date understanding you need to select the security measures best suited to your organization.


… this book, now in its second edition, covers a lot of ground for its 450 or so pages: information security, physical and environmental exposures, personnel risk and business continuity. Its author, a one-time senior analyst at the NSA, is clearly highly experienced in managing very large-scale risk assessment exercises. … a valuable guide for those commissioning or planning risk assessment exercises.

— Michael Barwise, BSc, CEng, CITP, MBCS, in InfoSec Reviews, July 2011

Table of Contents


The Need for an Information Security Program

Elements of an Information Security Program

Common Core Information Security Practices

Security Risk Assessment

Related Activities

The Need for This Book

Who Is This Book For?

Information Security Risk Assessment Basics

Phase 1: Project Definition

Phase 2: Project Preparation

Phase 3: Data Gathering

Phase 4: Risk Analysis

Phase 5: Risk Mitigation

Phase 6: Risk Reporting and Resolution

Project Definition

Ensuring Project Success

Project Description

Security Risk Assessment Preparation

Introduce the Team

Review Business Mission

Identify Critical Systems

Identify Assets

Identifying Threats

Determine Expected Controls

Data Gathering


The RIIOT Method of Data Gathering

Administrative Data Gathering

Threats and Safeguards

The RIIOT Method: Administrative Data Gathering

Technical Data Gathering

Technical Threats and Safeguards

The RIIOT Method: Technical Data Gathering

Physical Data Gathering

Physical Threats and Safeguards

The RIIOT Method: Physical Data Gathering

Security Risk Analysis

Determining Security Risk

Creating Security Risk Statements

Team Review of Security Risk Statements

Security Risk Mitigation

Selecting Safeguards

Safeguard Solution Sets

Establishing Security Risk Parameters

Document Review Methodology: Create the Report Using a Top-Down Approach

Assessment Brief

Action Plan

Security Risk Assessment Reporting

Cautions in Reporting

Pointers in Reporting

Report Structure

Security Risk Assessment Project Management

Project Planning

Project Tracking

Taking Corrective Measures

Project Status Reporting

Project Conclusion and Wrap-Up

Security Risk Assessment Approaches

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Analysis Tools

Security Risk Assessment Methods


About the Author

Douglas Landoll has nearly two decades of information security experience. He has led security risk assessments and established security programs for top corporations and government agencies. He is an expert in security risk assessment, security risk management, security criteria, and building corporate security programs. His background includes evaluating security at the National Security Agency (NSA), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other government agencies; co-founding the Arca Common Criteria Testing Laboratory, co-authoring the systems security engineering capability maturity model (SSE-CMM); teaching at NSA’s National Cryptologic School; and running the southwest security services division for Exodus Communications.

Mr. Landoll is currently the president of Veridyn, a provider of network security solutions. He is a certified information systems security professional (CISSP) and certified information systems auditor (CISA). He holds a BS degree from James Madison University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published numerous information security articles, speaks regularly at conferences, and serves as an advisor for several high-tech companies.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Security / General