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REVIEW: "Information Security Risk Analysis", Thomas R. Peltier

Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor
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"Information Security Risk Analysis", Thomas R. Peltier, 2001,
%A Thomas R. Peltier
%C 920 Mercer Street, Windsor, ON N9A 7C2
%D 2001
%G 0-8493-0880-1
%I Auerbach Publications
%O +1-800-950-1216 Removed)
%P 281 p.
%T "Information Security Risk Analysis"

Chapter one, supposedly discussing effective risk management, outlines
a number of points important to the process, but in a rather scattered
manner. Material seems to have been gathered from a variety of
sources, but the gaps between those references and articles have not
been filled. The information given is inconsistent in terms of
significance: a list of natural threats lists "air pollution" (there
is no corresponding "water pollution") and "earthquakes" as generic
issues, but breaks weather conditions down into items as specific as
"Alberta Clipper" and "lake effect snow" (as well as a very odd
mention of "yellow snow," defined as snow coloured by pollen). Risk
analysis methods are generally divided into quantitative and
qualitative, so one would assume that chapter two, "Qualitative Risk
Analysis," would present the concepts of this idea, leaving
quantitative analysis for another section. Neither of those
assumptions is true: chapter two lists three different methods that
would probably be seen as qualitative, but does not analyse or compare
them, and quantitative analysis is not reviewed in any specific part
of the book. Chapter three, entitled "Value Analysis," is an
extremely terse mention of the importance of calculating the value of
assets. Five more qualitative procedures are listed in chapter four.
Another such, the Facilitated Risk Analysis Process (FRAP), suitable
for a quick risk review in a small department, is described in chapter
five, along with some related, but incompletely described, forms and
charts. "Other Uses of Qualitative Risk Analysis," in chapter six,
enumerates a few other risk analysis factors, mostly to do with
business impact analysis. Chapter seven is supposed to be a case
study using FRAP, but consists of fifty pages of unexplained forms.
The appendices contain various forms, again without commentary or
exegesis, including a questionnaire that bears a strong resemblence to
the US NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) security
self-assessment form.

The basics of risk analysis are here, but, aside from a padding of
verbiage, there is not much else. A decent article on the subject,
such as Ozier's in the "Information Security Management Handbook" (cf.
BKINSCMH.RVW), covers every bit as much territory, and in a more
concise manner.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKINSCRA.RVW 20040509

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