Communities, countries and alliances cannot be efficient in preparing to meet diverse threats to their security within traditional organizational stovepipes. The boundaries between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ threats are getting fuzzier, and the vulnerabilities of governments, businesses and communities feed on each other, while the comprehensive approach is gaining traction in ever more security fields. The implementation of the comprehensive approach poses a number of methodological challenges. While it clearly requires coordination of various capabilities of a multitude of actors, it is less apparent which is the suitable organising concept. This paper takes as a starting point the concept of ‘essential services’ and suggests a taxonomy, that would allow to treat threats, vulnerabilities and risk in a common comprehensive framework. The taxonomy has been developed with a specific purpose in mind, and thus refers to European Essential Services (EES). We nevertheless reason that it can be replicated to support decision making at other levels, e.g. in national security policy making and planning.