Assessing Information Security Risk using the OCTAVE Approach

In this three-day course, participants learn to perform information security risk assessments using the Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation (OCTAVE) Allegro method. 
The OCTAVE Allegro approach provides organizations a comprehensive methodology that focuses on information assets in their operational context. Risks are identified and analyzed based on where they originate, at the points where information is stored, transported, and processed.

For organizations required to be compliant with PCI-DSS v2.0, OCTAVE Allegro satisfies the requirement for an annual risk assessment outlined in paragraph12.1.2 of the standard. By focusing on operational risks to information assets, participants learn to view risk assessment in the context of the organization's strategic objectives and risk tolerances. 

Through lectures, class exercises, and discussions, the course covers the OCTAVE-prescribed activities for risk identification, analysis, and response.After completing the course, attendees will be able to use OCTAVE Allegro to

  • Gather and organize risk information via interviews, documentation reviews, and technical analysis
  • Create risk evaluation criteria to assess risk commensurate with the organization's risk appetite and tolerances
  • Identify, analyze, and prioritize information security risks
  • Improve vulnerability management activities by viewing them in a risk context
  • Understand why managing operational risk is important to managing enterprise risk
  • Develop risk response strategies appropriate for the organization's business requirements


Individuals who would like an in-depth understanding of the OCTAVE Allegro Risk Assessment Methodology

  • Security professionals, business continuity planners, compliance personnel, risk managers, and other professionals requiring the knowledge and skills to understand operational risk and perform risk assessments
  • Personnel needing to perform formal risk assessment to satisfy PCI-DSS requirements


  • Introduction to OCTAVE Allegro as a structured, repeatable risk assessment method that can be used across the organization
  • The importance of risk evaluation criteria in the risk management process
  • A starting set of impact categories and guidance is provided to establish your organization's risk tolerances
  • Profiling high-value information assets and understanding their role in service delivery
  • The role of threat and vulnerability identification in risk management
  • Prioritization of risk response based on organizational impact


This course will help participants to

  • Gain a foundation overview of the various elements of operational risk
  • Make the connection between information security, business continuity, IT operations and operational risk management
  • Obtain a working knowledge of operational risk, threat, vulnerabilities, impact,services, and their related assets
  • Understand the purpose of the OCTAVE Allegro structured risk management approach
  • Understand what is required to prepare an organization for a risk assessment using OCTAVE Allegro
  • Understand how to get started and when to tailor the process to meet unique organizational needs


This course has no prerequisites.


Participants will receive a Student Workbook of slides and handouts.