The Difference Between Threat and Risk

The Difference between Threat and Risk

There is a fine line between a threat and a risk. How do you perceive it?

These terms are used very commonly in the security industry yet so many people are not able to provide a clear explanation. My aim is to provide a distinct explanation to you so that you know the difference between a threat and risk.

No doubt you would have heard the terms risk management, threat assessments, risk assessments, incident management, this will surely confuse the best of us.

Firstly let’s go through what Threat and Risk mean.

    • Threat – a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.


  • Risk – A situation involving exposure to danger.

When you read it in plain English, it becomes much easier to deal with. How do we mitigate one or the other?

Threat is prevalent where there is an abuse of power. Somebody may want steal something. They may want to disrupt or destroy property or assets. Risk is always involved. There are closely linked. Threat is rarely without Risk.

Risk can function without threat. We tend to take risks all day long. We can take a small risk by not leaving the house with an umbrella even though we know it’s going to rain. The outcome of this will be we would get wet, yet there is no threat involved at any stage.

With Physical Security you are taught not to take risks. Mitigate the very existence of risk to eliminate threat. Of course, there are other elements such as vulnerability and fear, but by understanding risk and threat we can plan and develop our security strategy.

I hope this helps clear some misconceptions about risk and threat.

Remember the most important piece of information is to make sure that everyone remains safe at all times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *