Defining Criticality in a Networked World: Implications of the Use of Information and Communications Technology for Efforts to Promote the Security and Resilience of Critical Infrastructure
65 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2014
Date Written: January 17, 2014
Current approaches to critical infrastructure identification/prioritization/assessment may not fully account for the widespread use of information and communications technology (ICT). ICT is used — largely to yield efficiency gains — to connect "systems and assets" (or subsystems and sub-assets) in new and novel and sometimes nonobvious ways. ICT use may also introduce new and novel and sometimes nonobvious intra- and interdependencies and vulnerabilities. Further, ICT may itself provide new and novel services. Therefore, it may be more challenging to identify/prioritize/assess critical infrastructure and to understand the elements within critical infrastructure that enable its viability, in an interconnected, networked world. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asked the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI) to begin to answer the following question: What are the implications for the current DHS process of critical infrastructure identification/prioritization/assessment — and, for efforts to promote critical infrastructure security and resilience more generally — of the use of ICT? To answer this question, HSSAI embarked on a program of research. As a first, foundational step, HSSAI assessed three specific research questions: How is ICT currently used in infrastructure? How is ICT use changing (in terms of relevant innovation)? What implications for critical infrastructure identification/prioritization/assessment, and security and resilience more generally, emerge from ICT use and innovation? Guided by two case studies and an examination of near- and medium-term innovations — drawing from a broad review of the literature and semi-structured interviews with engineers, technologists, and others — this paper presents the findings of the research.
Keywords: Critical infrastructure, DHS, ICT
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation