Gartner Research

Managing Non-Quantifiable Security Risks

Published: 11 January 2007

ID: G00203260

Analyst(s): Bob Blakley


Some security exposures can be completely understood; both their probability and their consequences can be accurately estimated. Many security exposures are harder to manage: they occur rarely, their probability cannot be accurately estimated, and their consequences are severe or catastrophic. Many businesses underinvest in or overcontrol these exposures. Maximum impact analysis and game-theoretic analysis can help businesses control non-quantifiable security risks.

Table Of Contents



  • Classical Risk Management Techniques Don't Handle Security Exposures Well
    • Security Risks Are Hard to Quantify
  • Allocating Resources to Mitigating Security Risk Is Hard
    • Techniques Which Do Not Depend on Probability of Occurrence Are Needed
  • Recommendations

The Details

  • Risk
    • Classical Risk
    • Security Risk
    • Non-Quantifiable Risks
  • Management Issues Arising From Non-Quantifiable Risks
    • The Fallacy of Induction
    • Skewness
    • Survivorship Bias
  • Managing Non-Quantifiable Risks
    • Management Techniques Which Do Not Require Quantification of a Risk's Probability



©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.