Analyses of issues of information security in Indian context

Manmohan Chaturvedi (Ansal University, Gurgaon, India)
Abhishek Narain Singh (IIT Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Manmohan Prasad Gupta (IIT Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Jaijit Bhattacharya (IIT Delhi, New Delhi, India)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Publication date: 12 August 2014



The purpose of this paper is to attempt to fill the need to identify critical information security issues at national level, both technical and social in the Indian context, and create a framework of these issues to provide interesting managerial insights about their hierarchy. Current literature advocates relevance of both technical and social issues in a potential framework to address national and organizational information security concerns. Such a framework can guide users in developing insight for strategy in the maize of important information security issues and their intricate interdependency.


Delphi methodology is used to identify a set of topical issues with help from members of a cyber security group. These issues are further analyzed using Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) to impose order and direction to the complex relationships among them.


The analysis using ISM creates a framework of these issues and provides interesting managerial insights about their hierarchy. These insights are used to recommend prioritized action for information security at national and organizational levels.

Research limitations/implications

The highlight of this research is ingenious deployment of two idea engineering methods in developing interpretable structural model of 25 information security issues. This model provides valuable insights and can guide the policy formulation. This is the key contribution of this paper. It needs hardly any emphasis on the need for continuous search of all technical and social issues and formulating policies and programs using experts” judgment in a rigorous manner. Subsequent research may scale up to the global level for extension and validation by empanelling Delphi experts from nations belonging to different regions. Time-variant analysis can be attempted with the help of System Dynamics Modeling using causal-loop diagrams to account for the supportive and inhibiting influences of various issues. This approach has the potential to generate more realistic insights that can inform policy formulation.

Practical implications

It brings about key information security issues connected with its various facets, viz. national/organizational level initiatives, supportive processes, capabilities and objectives. These issues, identified by Indian experts in the Indian context, offer a method that one could apply in other national contexts and see whether substantial differences occur, and how other experts prioritize these issues. The analysis of social issues along with technical issues using the ISM tool provides us insights that are considered applicable to a larger context than India. The policy and program formulations in other nations can benefit from the insights generated by this research. The fast-paced proliferation of technology and its resultant vulnerabilities have given birth to an underground economy of malware trading by criminals, terrorists and hostile nation states. Secure cyber space for legitimate use by the globalized world can only be achieved by international cooperation.

Social implications

A “digital divide” in cyber defense cannot be afforded. As explained earlier, cyber security is a challenge for both developed and developing nations. Prioritization of resources in a sequence suggested by ISM analysis would help face the challenge of cyber security better. The methodology suggested in this paper would ensure adequate response to cyber threats and eliminate knee-jerk reaction.


This research emphasizes identification of hierarchical relationship among the identified topical issues of information security rather than using them as a flat checklist. It helps us segregate the end objectives from root issues and highlights the necessity of addressing these root issues to achieve those objectives.



Chaturvedi, M., Narain Singh, A., Prasad Gupta, M. and Bhattacharya, J. (2014), "Analyses of issues of information security in Indian context", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 374-397.

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