Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) - Risk Assessment Guideline


Identify UAS Risk

The first step in preparing a UAS risk management plan is to identify potential risks drones pose to your organization. Understanding the scope of possible risks will help you develop realistic, cost-effective strategies for dealing with them. Risk identification involves identifying sources of risk, areas of impact, and consequences.


In identifying the risk, consider these kinds of questions: “why?, what?, when?, where?, how?”


  • Why would my organization be threatened by a drone?
  • What would happen if a drone hacked my organization?
  • When will this happen, could it happen again?
  • Where are my security gaps that would allow such an attack?
  • How could my organization be impacted by drones?



Sources of UAS Risks/Threats


  1. Unintentional: Negligent Drone Pilot
  2. Targeted: Domestic/International Terrorist, Hacker, Nefarious Actors



Areas of Impact


Areas of Impact will differ depending on your industry or type of business. Areas of impacts to consider include: human injury/wellness, operational, financial, legal, and brand reputation. 


How a drone impacts your organization depends on the nature of your business, but in all industries it would result in financial consequences due to disruption of operation, man hours to remedy the situation, infrastructural damage, etc.




For many businesses, an unintentional drone threat, such as a pilot losing control of their drone and crashing it, will not cause devastating consequences. But for other operations -such as sporting events, stadiums, energy infrastructures - an unintentional drone crash could result in human injury, disruption to refineries, or power outages.


Negligent or criminal behavior is inevitable and it is important to consider the threats from a security standpoint. There is evidence that both domestic and international terror networks desire to utilize drones. In 2017, Homeland Security released a warning about the very real threat of drone attacks. As UAS proliferate, organizations should anticipate a rise in the types and number of such threats and prepare to respond appropriately.


Is your company or organization prepared for drone risks? Our industry-specific UAS risk assessments will provide you with details to help evaluate drone risks to your organization. Just click on the industry tab that is most relevant to your organization.