A Complex Systems Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Holistic Security Ecosystems
Adaptive Risk Management Lab. University of New Brunswick
Adaptive Ris management Lab. University of New Brunswick
Last modified: November 2, 2007
International and domestic security operations include large numbers of participating partner organizations. According to a Complex Adaptive Systems view , the participants may be described as species within a social ecosystem who are specialized to achieve both their own goals and those of the greater organization (e.g. the natural ecosystem of the Little Rock food web ). Such organizations are characterized by:
- the participantsí ability to negotiate between autonomy and cooperation in a drive (attractor) towards a common goal,
- a coordinated workflow process that triggers the formation of high-level organizational structure (patterns of collaborative clusters) through low-level interactions between participants, and
- a capacity to organize over spatial and functional scale  to maintain resilience against attack.
Design and Evaluation of Holistic Security Ecosystems
We present a conceptual model of a Holistic Security Ecosystem and a proof of concept test bed for exploring the social, cognitive, and informational dynamics in the emergence of the Security Ecosystem. The model is based on recent developments  of the holonic paradigm  of cross-organizational workflow coordination and decision making, and rooted in the Emergency Response Holarchy introduced by . The model focuses on the dynamic, on-the-fly creation of targeted, short-lived meta-organizations that work towards achieving a common goal (crisis resolution), and guarantees optimal coordination and decision making at various levels of resolution across the holarchic levels of the organization.
The Holistic Security Ecosystem model serves as foundation for agent-based modeling and multi-agent simulations on the Adaptive Risk Management test bed at the University of New Brunswick. The test bed allows for the simulation of several configurations of the model as they relate to specific application contexts. The resulting simulations enable an understanding of the dynamics of criticality occurrence within the Holistic Security Ecosystem for a range of operating scenarios. Our ultimate goal is to develop a template methodology for the deployment of Security Ecosystems enabling harmonious operation of inter-organizational, short-lived, mission critical organizations.
By integrating the simulation results into a strategic thinking process, we envision a change of culture in the design and deployment of Holistic Security Ecosystems that would lead to the seamless reorganization of security operations to ensure unobstructed functioning in the chaos of crisis. When taken to a next level, this could lead to an overall benchmarking of strategic thinking for self-transformation that may assist organizations in adapting their dynamic strengths while overcoming limitations.
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