Evaluative Thinking: Addressing Complex Adaptive Challenges in the Agricultural Cybersecurity Workforce

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Humans are the weakest links in cybersecurity, but this knowledge has not been well channeled into capacity building toward improving agriculture and food organizations’ workforce resilience in forestalling cyberattacks. Many capacity-building endeavors have focused on technical dimensions, neglecting the role of critical evaluative thinking, and ignoring the reality that cybersecurity is a wicked problem that confounds technical expertise. The consequence of this is the persistent attacks by cyber-criminal actors exploring social engineering to disrupt operational processes, cause financial and data losses, and breach the food supply chain. The long-term impacts of these attacks suggest a bleak future for the continued natural existence of humans, animals, and plants on the planet. Agriculture and life sciences organizations, particularly those leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and the Internet of Things (IoTs) to support industrial control systems in their operations are struggling with handling the complex adaptive challenges that cybersecurity poses. Using a conceptual framework, this presentation demonstrates how evaluative thinking can be adapted as a way of doing agriculture business in the digital world. Indeed everyone needs to be a knowledge worker in these perilous times and developing an evaluation culture through evaluative thinking is a precursor to knowledge-working. Evaluative thinking can help individuals and organizations to critically and systemically build the evaluation logic into programmatic efforts to safeguard agricultural systems and enhance the identification, prevention, assessment, and mitigation of cyber intrusions.