Decision-Making and Biases in Cybersecurity Capability Development: Evidence from a Simulation Game Experiment

34 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2017 Last revised: 3 Jul 2018

See all articles by Mohammad Jalali

Mohammad Jalali

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 31, 2017

Abstract

We developed a simulation game to study the effectiveness of decision-makers in overcoming two complexities in building cybersecurity capabilities: potential delays in capability development; and uncertainties in predicting cyber incidents. Analyzing 1,479 simulation runs, we compared the performances of a group of experienced professionals with those of an inexperienced control group. Experienced subjects did not understand the mechanisms of delays any better than inexperienced subjects; however, experienced subjects were better able to learn the need for proactive decision-making through an iterative process. Both groups exhibited similar errors when dealing with the uncertainty of cyber incidents. Our findings highlight the importance of training for decision-makers with a focus on systems thinking skills, and lay the groundwork for future research on uncovering mental biases about the complexities of cybersecurity.

Keywords: Cybersecurity, decision making, simulation, capability development

Suggested Citation

Jalali, Mohammad, Decision-Making and Biases in Cybersecurity Capability Development: Evidence from a Simulation Game Experiment (December 31, 2017). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 5248-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022626

Mohammad Jalali (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School ( email )

101 Merrimac St
Suite 1010
Boston, MA 02114
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/jalali

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