What is a critical control?

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So what is a critical control? “How is it different from other types of controls” is a question I get asked frequently.

There are two aspects to a “Critical Control”:

Firstly it must meet the definitions and requirements of a control: an act, object (engineered) or technological system intended to arrest or mitigate an unwanted event.
Secondly, it must meet 3 different criticality requirements.

The first criticality requirement is it critical to the prevention of a major unwanted event (MUE) or minimising its consequences.

The second is its absence or failure would significantly increase the risk despite the existence of other controls. And lastly, the control prevents one or more than one unwanted event or mitigates more than one consequence.

A key distinction between a control and a critical control, generally, critical controls will mention material unwanted events or primary unwanted events (PUE).

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