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Addressing Complex Problem Situations in Critical Infrastructures using Soft Systems Analysis: The CS-AWARE Approach


In a world in which large-scale cyber attacks are the norm rather than the exception, the need for cybersecurity gains in importance every day. Current cybersecurity solutions are often not taking the holistic approach that would be required to provide comprehensive security to their users (for example, strategic/critical infrastructure, large organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or public institutions). A new way of thinking about cybersecurity is required: Cooperation and collaboration among individual actors as a way to improve the security situation for society and economy as a whole is a promising approach. In the European Union, the legal framework that is currently developing (like the network and information security (NIS) directive), recognizes the need for cooperation and collaboration among individual actors to improve cybersecurity. Information sharing is one of the key elements of the NIS directive. In this paper, we present a system and dependency analysis based on soft systems thinking that is able to capture the relations between assets and its internal and external de-pendencies in the complex systems of organizations like critical infrastructures or other organizations that base their operations on complex systems and interactions. The analysis is done in a socio-technological manner; the human aspect of the systems is considered as important as the technical or organizational aspects. As a use case, we present CS-AWARE, a European H2020 project which relies on the presented system and dependency analysis method as a core concept for providing a cybersecurity solution that is in line with the cooperative and collaborative efforts of the NIS directive.

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Paper in Conference Proceedings or in Workshop Proceedings (Paper)
Event Title
The Eleventh International Conference on Emerging Security Information, Systems and Technologies (SECURWARE 2017))
Multimedia Information Systems
Event Location
Rome, Italy
Event Type
Event Dates
10-14 Sep 2017
Series Name
SECURWARE 2017: The Eleventh International Conference on Emerging Security Information, Systems and Technologies
Page Range
pp. 99-105
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