Is Public Co-Ordination of Investment in Information Security Desirable

This paper alarm system quotes, in an integrated manner, of a sequence of results addressing the consequences of the presence of an information steward in an ecosystem under attack and establishes the appropriate defensive investment responses, thus allowing for a cohesive understanding of the nature of the information steward in a variety of attack contexts. We determine the level of investment in information security and attacking intensity when agents react in a non-coordinated manner and compare them to the case of the system’s coordinated response undertaken under the guidance of a steward. We show that only in the most well-designed institutional set-up the presence of the well-informed steward provides for an increase of the system’s resilience to attacks.

In the case in which both the information available to the steward and its policy instruments are curtailed, coordinated policy responses yield no additional benefits to individual agents and in some case they actually compared unfavourably to atomistic responses. The system’s sustainability does improve in the presence of a steward, which deters attackers and reduces the numbers and intensity of attacks. In most cases, the resulting investment expenditure undertaken by the agents in the ecosystem exceeds its Pareto efficient magnitude.

Information produces value for an organization or individual when it improves the solutions to decision-making problems whose outcomes have consequences for their welfare. The information system refers to the entire collection of data sources and related service capabilities both internal and external to the organization that decision makers are required to use. The system is user-centred because it serves the objectives of the organi- zation by providing the information needed to achieve its mission.

The security of such systems is of paramount importance and economic agents are willing to allocate scarce resources in protecting the system when it is threatened. Information systems based almost exclusively on digital technologies are subject to and degraded by cyberattacks, which are initiated and executed remotely. As the subjects of such attacks have no clear means of identifying the initiators and stopping their activities, their main concern is to preserve the system’s functionality in all its dimensions by allocating resources, thus incurring cost, to maintain it at the level of operational capacity required by the organization. More specifically, information security, is conventionally defined as protecting the system’s confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA).

The aim of this paper is to examine whether the decisions about expenditure/investment in information security should be socially coordinated via a steward or such decisions are better left to individual organizations. The subsequent discussion and models follow closely [1] – [4] , where the proofs elided here may be found. This paper’s contribution lies in the integration of a dispersed body of work addressing the issues regarding the co- ordination of investment in information security. Whilst the problems of sustainability and resilience have been addressed separately, combining them in a single theoretical framework provides for a clear appreciation of the policy issues emerging from public co-ordination.

Related organizational issues have been examined by [5] . There is no generally accepted scientific definition of the concept of stewardship. In more general terms, stewardship is an ethic guiding the allocation and management of some of the participants’ resources in an ecosystem (household, common interest community, commercial firm, etc.) in order to sustain and protect the ecosystem, rather than the welfare maximization of individual agents, in the presence of anticipated and unanticipated shocks. The steward will be part of the ecosystem itself and can emerge either from internal or external forces.

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