Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Computer and network security are central issues confronting organizations and individuals. This paper explores the use of biology as a reference discipline that can provide meaningful insight and innovation in the area of network security. Specifically, we propose a framework for thinking about network security by examining the similarities between the defense mechanisms of a cell, and the security processes and methodologies of networked computer systems that defend an organization's information resources. Researchers and commercial developers can use this framework to help spark ideas that lead to further research and development in network security. The framework also provides a platform for educators in teaching students about the functions of computer network concepts. Our analysis of defense mechanisms in biological cells showed that security in cells is integrated, ubiquitous, and continuous. An example illustrates how the framework can generate ideas for improving network security.