A Socio-technical Analysis of Information Systems Security Assurance A Case Study for Effective Assurance

University dissertation from Kista : Institutionen för data- och systemvetenskap (tills m KTH)

Abstract: This thesis examines the concepts of Information System (IS) security assurance using a socio-technical framework. IS security assurance deals with the problem of estimating how well a particular security system will function efficiently and effectively in a specific operational environment. In such environments, the IS interact with other systems such as ethical, legal, operational and administrative. Security failure in any of these systems may result in security failure of the whole system. In this thesis a socio-technical framework is used to examine culture, usability problems, security internal controls, security requirements and re-use of security requirements of TANESCO information systems. TANESCO is the energy utility company in Tanzania where the case study was conducted. Results show that culture affects the way people approach IS security. Also results show that the socio-technical framework is effective in modeling systems security and its environment. The re-use of security requirements is also shown to significantly minimise the time taken when developing and improving security requirements for an IS. The overall purpose of this thesis has been to develop a framework for information systems security assurance. The resulting framework of thinking brings together numerous assurance concepts into a coherent explanation that should be useful for any organisation or evaluators seeking to understand the underlying principals of systems security assurance. It contains organisational, cultural, and technical issues that should be looked at when considering and applying systems security assurance methods and techniques.