Risk is an inherent part of doing business. When considering operational risk, service providers are especially sensitive to potential problems in their data centers because of the high level of complexity and interconnectedness of their systems, the small timeframe between a system failure and its subsequent impact on the hosting environment, and the high visibility of a failure to the hoster's customers.

Risks arise from uncertainty surrounding operational decisions and outcomes. To reduce the potential for diminished quality of service, missed deadlines, or loss of service, hosting businesses need to be able to understand-to quantify and qualify-their operational risks. But managing risk requires more than understanding where your risk lies; you also need to proactively determine what to do about each risk you have identified.

This section discusses the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Risk Management Discipline, which is a set of processes, guidelines, and best practices that are designed to help operations management apply proven risk-management techniques to the challenges that operations staff members face every day. By following the best practices in the MOF Risk Management Discipline, your operational management team can improve how they identify, analyze, and address operational risk. Included in the MOF Risk Management Discipline are a set of key principles, terminologies, and structured processes to help you integrate an effective risk management practice into your overall operations framework.