Understanding and measuring information security culture in developing countries : case of Saudi Arabia

Alnatheer, Mohammed A. (2012) Understanding and measuring information security culture in developing countries : case of Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to develop a measurement of information security culture in developing countries such as Saudi Arabia. In order to achieve this goal, the study commenced with a comprehensive review of the literature, the outcome being the development of a conceptual model as a reference base. The literature review revealed a lack of academic and professional research into information security culture in developing countries and more specifically in Saudi Arabia. Given the increasing importance and significant investment developing countries are making in information technology, there is a clear need to investigate information security culture from developing countries perspective such as Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, our analysis indicated a lack of clear conceptualization and distinction between factors that constitute information security culture and factors that influence information security culture. Our research aims to fill this gap by developing and validating a measurement model of information security culture, as well as developing initial understanding of factors that influence security culture.

A sequential mixed method consisting of a qualitative phase to explore the conceptualisation of information security culture, and a quantitative phase to validate the model is adopted for this research. In the qualitative phase, eight interviews with information security experts in eight different Saudi organisations were conducted, revealing that security culture can be constituted as reflection of security awareness, security compliance and security ownership. Additionally, the qualitative interviews have revealed that factors that influence security culture are top management involvement, policy enforcement, policy maintenance, training and ethical conduct policies. These factors were confirmed by the literature review as being critical and important for the creation of security culture and formed the basis for our initial information security culture model, which was operationalised and tested in different Saudi Arabian organisations.

Using data from two hundred and fifty-four valid responses, we demonstrated the validity and reliability of the information security culture model through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), followed by Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA.) In addition, using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) we were further able to demonstrate the validity of the model in a nomological net, as well as provide some preliminary findings on the factors that influence information security culture.

The current study contributes to the existing body of knowledge in two major ways: firstly, it develops an information security culture measurement model; secondly, it presents empirical evidence for the nomological validity for the security culture measurement model and discovery of factors that influence information security culture. The current study also indicates possible future related research needs.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 64070
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Chan, Taizan & Nelson, Karen J.
Keywords: information security culture, developing countries, Saudi Arabia
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 05 Nov 2013 05:49
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 00:13

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