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On Security Metaphors and how they Shape the Emerging Practice of Secure Information Systems Development



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Journal of Information System Security
Volume 3, Number 3 (2007)
Pages 2150
ISSN 1551-0123
Theodore Tryfonas — University of Glamorgan, UK
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




This paper revisits the roots of the emergent professional practice of developing secure information systems. A review of how security practice is advocated within the field of systems development reveals that the current practice is shaped, and thus biased, by an engineering perspective and the author argues that this has major implications in producing less secure systems. This observation raises the importance for the information security expert to develop a professional mindset capable of understanding different angles of the contemporary systems security field, both from an engineering and a holistic point of view. The author argues that there is a need to define the actions of the information security practitioner through ways that take into account social, organisational and political concerns as well as the security engineering perspective. To highlight this, we focus on the organisational aspects of information systems security and we use the concept of organisational metaphors to explore the multiple perceptions of information systems security that emerge through the organisational discourse on security and explore their implications for scholars and practitioners of the professional practice.




Security Perceptions, Organisational Discourse, Metaphor




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