Legal authorities and the general public typically hold organizations accountable for any harm caused during their daily operations. The expectation is that leaders of those organizations have considered the potential harms that might happen, and implemented reasonable precautions to reduce or eliminate the risks.

This is known as the “DoCRA standard.”

The Duty of Care Risk Analysis Standard (that is, DoCRA) provides key principles and practices for organizations to follow when analyzing risks and determining appropriate security controls, all based on the specific organization’s mission, goals, and obligations. With DoCRA, organizations can assure that they protect themselves and others without imposing unreasonable burdens on the organization.

What Is “Duty of Care”?

A “duty of care” is the legal responsibility that business leaders have to be careful not to cause harm to others, regardless of their relationship. If found negligent, the leaders can be held responsible for any harm caused.

Why do legal authorities and judges care about the duty of care?

Negligence can be a contributing factor in data breaches. Judges want to understand the extent of harm, burden of control, and whether the business took acceptable measures to reduce the risk (of a data breach, or any other unwanted event).

Did the business practice its duty of care for everyone that could be affected?

If the answer is “no,” regulators and judges will want to know why. You will have to prove that you analyzed the risk and prioritized controlling it. With DoCRA, you can understand and fulfill your legal duty of care to protect people and property.

Roles Concerned With Risk Assessments

To carry out effective workplace risk assessments, all involved parties should have a clear understanding of the legal context, concepts, and risk assessment processes. In addition, they should also know the role they play in the assessment process.

Here’s a list of the main roles involved in risk assessments:

  • The risk assessor conducts the assessment, identifying potential hazards and evaluating the level of risk.
  • The risk manager: makes decisions related to risk controls and assures that those controls are implemented effectively.
  • The site manager or supervisor assures that the risk assessment is carried out correctly and that the necessary controls are in place for the safety of employees and other people on site.
  • The employee follows the controls put in place to manage risks. Employees are also responsible for reporting any concerns.
  • The health and safety committee or representative monitors the risk assessment process, confirming that all hazards are thoughtfully considered and appropriate controls are in place.

The specific roles and responsibilities vary depending on industry and organization, but generally you’ll find some form of the above roles in every organization.

What Are the Three Types of Risk Analysis?

There are three types of risk analysis: qualitative, quantitative, and semi-quantitative.

1. Qualitative risk analysis

This risk analysis uses subjective judgment and expert opinion to evaluate the likelihood and effect of risks on your business. Typically these risks are rated on some form of low/medium/high scale. Think of it as the preliminary step to identify the most critical risks that need immediate attention.

Qualitative risk analysis is the preferred risk analysis methodology for organizations lacking data or with limited resources to perform a detailed analysis. Compared to other risk analysis methods, it’s also less accurate and prone to bias and subjectivity.

2. Quantitative risk analysis

This analysis uses numerical models and statistics to evaluate the probability of risks and their potential consequences. Quantitative risk analysis provides organizations with more precise and measurable results, which can be used to prioritize risk management efforts and allocate resources effectively.

While this method produces more detailed results (for example, “There is an 80 percent chance our systems will go off-line, which would reduce revenue by half”), it’s more complex and time-consuming than qualitative risk analysis. It also needs more data and expertise to be carried out correctly.

3. Semi-quantitative risk analysis

This approach combines both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It involves assigning numerical values to the likelihood and effect of risks, while considering experts’ subjective judgment.

As it provides a more comprehensive evaluation of risks, semi-quantitative risk analysis is useful for organizations wanting to perform a more detailed analysis, but don’t have the resources to conduct a full quantitative analysis.

How Is DoCRA Related to the CIS Risk Assessment Method (RAM)?

The CIS Risk Assessment Method (CIS RAM) is a comprehensive risk assessment framework covering people, processes, and technologies while providing a structured approach to identifying, accessing, and prioritizing security risks. Organizations can use this approach to assess and manage security risks associated with their information systems and technology.

DoCRA has been incorporated into CIS RAM and has been recognized by legal authorities as a means of demonstrating the “reasonableness” of risk assessments.

How Do Professionals Benefit From DoCRA?

DoCRA provides professionals with a structured approach to identify, assess, and prioritize risks, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively leading to improved risk management and reduced risk exposure.

Additionally, it serves as a reliable method to gain consensus on risk management from all interested parties in an organization, including the board of directors, the C-Suite level executives, and the IT department. By giving all parties a common frame of reference, DoCRA is also useful for determining asset and budget priorities and investments.

Another DoCRA benefit for professionals is that it allows businesses, regulators, and litigators to speak the same language and understand the impact of various risks, making your analysis a defensible resource within a security program.

The other benefits of DoCRA for professionals include:

  • Reduced lawsuit risks. Professionals can use DoCRA to assure they’re fulfilling their legal obligation to act with a reasonable standard of care to prevent harm to others. This helps them avoid legal liability and penalization.
  • Enhanced reputation. DoCRA raises awareness of potential hazards and the level of risk associated with them. This makes professionals more committed to risk management and duty of care risk assessment, helping enhance their reputation and demonstrating their corporate social responsibilities to stakeholders.
  • Better decision-making. Professionals can use DoCRA for comprehensive risk assessments, so they can make more informed decisions about risk management strategies and resource allocation.

What Is Risk Analysis in Healthcare?

Risk analysis specifically in healthcare is a crucial process that helps ensure the safety and well-being of patients and healthcare providers. It involves assessing and prioritizing the potential risks associated with healthcare services and practices, so appropriate measures can be taken to minimize the risk of adverse events. Those events might include:

  • Potential threats and vulnerabilities that exist within a healthcare organization’s information systems and technology;
  • Risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, and other privacy violations that may compromise sensitive patient information;
  • Loss of critical IT assets due to inadequate security of network and system infrastructure, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies;
  • Unpreparedness when responding to potential cyber threats (think: lack of contingency plans and disaster recovery processes).

The goal of cybersecurity risk analysis is to distinguish between minor, acceptable risks and major, unacceptable risks. This helps healthcare providers and organizations focus their efforts on the risks that pose the greatest threat to patient safety and quality of care.

By using data-backed methods to evaluate and treat risks, healthcare organizations can improve patient safety, reduce liability, and enhance the overall quality of care. Implementing risk analysis tools and strategies is an investment in patient safety and the long-term success of healthcare providers and organizations.

Duty of Care Risk Analysis With ZenGRC

ZenGRC platform is an always-on risk management application that focuses on breaking the silence between compliance and risk. Infosec teams can use it to get a real-time view of risk in your business activities and gain actionable insights to fulfill your legal duty of care, optimize security, and mitigate risk.

Schedule a demo to see ZenGRC in action.