From Academic Kids

For other uses of the word, see the disambiguation page.

A crisis is a turning point or decisive moment in events. Typically, it is the moment from which an illness may go on to death or recovery. More loosely, it is a term meaning 'a testing time' or 'emergency event'. It is a concept in economics (discussed elsewhere) and in international relations, discussed below.


Crises in international relations

For information about crises as a field of study in international relations, see crisis management and international crisis. In this context, a crisis can be loosely defined as a situation where there is a perception of threat, heightened anxiety, expectation of possible violence and the belief that any actions will have far-reaching consequences (Lebow, 7-10).

Crisis in terms of Information Security

In InfoSec Crisis is the present tense of a disaster. An uncontrolled disaster or a combination of mismanaged disasters could lead to a crisis. The magnitude of crisis could be bigger than a disaster in terms of loss expectancy. A crisis usually happens because of accumulated unattended/unresolved disasters/issue(s). It is always the goal of InfoSec to contain the disaster and never give it a chance to become a crisis. When a disaster becomes a crisis it usually out of control in some form or proportion. Every Crisis is a disaster, on the same token a Disaster need not be a crisis, because it could be controlled way before it becomes crisis.

Time is another factor that differentiates between crisis and disaster. Crisis usually has a longer lifespan as compared to Disaster because the birth of Crisis arises is from one or more unattended or uncontrolled or mismanaged Disasters. One factor might trigger a disaster (‘an emergency event’), where as a crisis usually needs one or more factor(s) that were either mismanaged, unattended or unresolved in the initial stages as disasters and as a result those disaster(s) converges to form a crisis, hence the term Crisis Management.

Usually it is seen that people are not able to clearly distinguish in information security between Disaster and Crisis and when one ends and other starts.


  1. Borodzicz, E. P. 2004 'The Missing Ingredient is the value of Flexibility' International Journal of Simulations and Games, 35(3):414-426 Sage.
  1. Lebow, RN, Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis: 1981. ISBN 0-8018-3211-0.

See also



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