Differences Between Risk Assessment, Risk Management & Risk Analysis

Differences Between Risk Assessment, Risk Management & Risk Analysis

Risk, Risk Management, Risk Assessment, and Risk Analysis are all related terms—but they’re also different. This article will discuss the differences between the four concepts, explain their use, and explore their use in different industries. By understanding each of these terms, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about understanding and assessing risk.

Differences Between Risk Assessment, Risk Management & Risk Analysis

As the three terms are related, it’s easy to confuse them. However, they each have a distinct definition, and understanding their differences is essential. Let’s start with the risk definition.

What is Risk?

A common definition of risk is the combination of a specific hazard and the likelihood that the hazard occurs (probability)x(hazard) = risk. That likelihood may be expressed as a rate or a probability. For example, the risk of an aircraft accident (hazard) can be expressed as one accident per million flights (likelihood).

Risk can be objectively defined so that two people can take the same data and produce a similar result. Risk can be expressed in many ways, so long as it combines a hazard with a likelihood.

1. Risk Management

First, let’s start with Risk Management. According to the Marquette University Risk Unit, risk management is the continuing process of identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and treating loss exposures and monitoring risk control and financial resources to mitigate the adverse effects of loss. We typically simplify this a bit and describe it as the Identification, Analysis (or Measurement), Treatment, and Monitoring of risk.

Risk Management

Risk management is a process that helps organizations identify and manage potential risks. It includes identifying, assessing, controlling, and monitoring risk across an organization. It also includes developing plans to reduce the potential impact of these risks and preparing for how to respond if they do occur. Risk management is a continuous process that helps organizations identify potential risks in their operations, assess the potential impact of those risks, and then develop strategies to mitigate or eliminate them. It helps organizations prepare for and respond to potential risks efficiently and effectively.

2. Risk Assessment

The Open Group defines risk assessment as processes and technologies that identify, evaluate, and report risk-related concerns. As stated in NIST 800-30, the risk assessment process is a “key component” of the risk management process. Using the simplified definition of Risk Management above, it is primarily concerned with the Identification and Analysis phases.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a process used to determine the likelihood of a risk occurring and its potential impact. It involves identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and reporting the risks associated with a given activity, project, or process. Risk assessment aims to understand the potential losses or damages that could occur as a result of an event and to develop strategies that can reduce or eliminate the risks. It helps organizations make better decisions by providing them with an understanding of the risks and an action plan to address those risks.

3. Risk Analysis

Again referencing the Open Group, risk analysis can be considered the evaluation component of the broader risk assessment process, which determines the significance of the identified risk concerns. Simplifying this a bit, we can think of risk analysis as the actual quantification of risk (i.e. calculating the probability and magnitude of loss).

Risk analysis is the process of measuring and quantifying risk. It involves estimating the potential losses or damages that could occur due to an event and calculating the probability of those losses or damages occurring. Risk analysis is integral to risk management as it helps organizations make informed decisions about reducing or eliminating risks. It also helps organizations identify potential sources of losses and develop strategies to reduce their exposure to those sources.

Risk Analysis

Risk analysis involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data from various sources to understand the potential risks. This can include examining historical data, conducting surveys or interviews with stakeholders, and analyzing industry trends.

Risk analysis also involves assessing how factors such as technology, regulations, and the changing environment can affect risk levels. The results of the risk analysis process can then be used to develop strategies for reducing or eliminating those risks. By understanding the potential risks and developing a plan to address them, organizations can better prepare for and respond to potential losses.


Risk, Risk Management, Risk Assessment, and Risk Analysis are all terms that describe various aspects of the risk assessment process. While there is some overlap in what those different terms mean, in general, Risk Management encompasses the entire process from identification to monitoring risk. In contrast, Risk Assessment is primarily focused on identifying and analyzing risk, and Risk Analysis is quantifying that risk. Understanding the differences between these terms can help to ensure expectations related to the risk assessment process are clear and that the work is conducted properly.

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