Seven areas need to be reviewed and discussed in the context of infrastructure interdependencies. These are:
- Economic and Business Opportunities - - Deregulation and technology innovation have had major influences on system interdependencies. Deregulation, especially in the energy sector, has resulted in the shedding of excess capacity that had previously been mandated and had served as a shock absorber against system failure. Information technology provided business with a powerful business tool to increase efficiency - - but it subsequently led to the proliferation of cyber interdependencies (and new vulnerabilities) in most infrastructure.
- Public Policy - - Various policies shape how industry and various levels of government operate but bounds the set of permissible operational states and characteristics and influence the growth and structure of entire infrastructures.
- Government Investment Decisions - - Research, development, and acquisition decisions have had a wide-ranging influence on many aspects of our lives and culture, ranging from the creation of entirely new infrastructures to small nudges of existing infrastructures. A more pressing issue we currently face is a lack of investment and the impact on potential system failures.
- Legal and Regulatory - - Some legal and regulatory concerns directly affect infrastructure operations. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had a significant impact and influence on infrastructure architectures and topologies.
- Public Health and Safety - - The desire to protect lives, property, and public health/safety has directly affected the configuration and operation of the infrastructures and thus their interdependencies. Examples include a reliance on SCADA and other electronic systems.
- Technical and Security - - Technology is both an enabler of infrastructures and a primary source of interdependencies. Technology is largely responsible for the tightly coupled, interdependent infrastructure we enjoy today - - extensive automation has dramatically increased cyber interdependencies across all infrastructures and concurrently increased their complexity. However, tighter, more complex, and more extensive interdependencies lead to increased risks and greater requirements for security.
- Social and Political - - These concerns drive markets (economic, business, technical, and security) and elections (public policy, legal/regulatory, and technical). They create the perception that laws or regulations are needed (or not), a service is needed (or not), certain types of behavior are accepted (or not), and certain protections are needed (or not).