Building resilience in virtual digital response networks: A case study

Jennie Phillips, Alexander H. Hay

Infrastructure Asset Management,, Infrastructure Asset Management Publishing


The evolution of technology is creating a more complex, connected society of interdependent networks and processes. As connectivity increases, so does the concentration of value. This increases the consequence of failure and the scale, scope and complexity of potential risks causing these systems to fail. These systems are made resilient by making the physical and virtual networks resilient in isolation and intersection. Yet existing resilience practices fail to address the complexities of virtual networks and their dynamics with the physical environment, specifically the requirements of physical infrastructure networks to enable resilient virtual networks and vice versa.  This paper aims to address this gap through a simulated case study of resilience development within and between a physical network and a virtual online network.  The networked operational resilience framework is applied to an emergency services network partnered with a digital response network (DRN). DRNs are virtual networks of crowdsourced volunteers that respond to the virtual layer of crisis. Building situational awareness to aid decision-making, they have become an essential tool of crisis response.  Findings address the context of virtual online networks in isolation and partnership, enabling infrastructure requirements, the risk environment and resilience capability and development.

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