Challenges, Collaborative Interactions, and Diagnosis Performed by IT Security Practitioners: An Empirical Study

Rodrigo Werlinger

13 June 2007

Abstract: This thesis investigates four different aspects of information security management: challenges faced by security practitioners, interactive collaborations among security practitioners and other stakeholders, diagnostic work performed by security practitioners during the response to incidents, and factors that impact the adoption of an intrusion detection system in one organization. Our approach is based on qualitative analyzes of empirical data from semi-structured interviews and participatory observation. For each theme under study, the contributions of the qualitative analysis are twofold. First, we provide a richer understanding of the main factors that affect the security within organizations. Second, equipped with this richer understanding, we provide recommendations on how to improve security tools, along with opportunities for future research. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the human, organizational, and technological factors that affect security in organizations and the effectiveness of security tools. Our work also highlights the need for continued refinement of how factors interplay by obtaining more rich data (e.g., contextual inquiry), and the need to generalize and validate these findings through other sources of information to study how these factors interplay (e.g., surveys).

Keyword(s): hot admin ; qualitative study ; security ; security incidents ; diagnosis ; collaboration ; security activities ; intrusion detection system ; challenges

Published in: Rodrigo Werlinger, "Challenges, Collaborative Interactions, and Diagnosis Performed by IT Security Practitioners: An Empirical Study," MASc thesis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, July 2008. :

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