Critical infrastructure means the physical, cybernetic and organizational (service) systems that are necessary for ensuring the protection of human lives and health, property, minimum function of economy and administration of the state.
The definitions of infrastructure used in official descriptions of critical infrastructure tend to be broad. Most governments refer to physical infrastructure. Many also include intangible assets and/or to production and services, or communication networks. Cyber infrastructure also plays an increasing role.
In the EU definition, "‘critical infrastructure’ means an asset, system or part thereof located in Member States which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact in a Member State as a result of the failure to maintain those functions" (EU 2008: 3).
- Boin, A., & McConnell, A.: Preparing for Critical Infrastructure Breakdowns: The Limits of Crisis Man-agement and the Need for Resilience, in: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 15 (2007): 50-59.
- Baker, G.H.: A Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for Critical Infrastructure Facilities. Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance, 2004.
- European Union: COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2008/114/EC of 8 December 2008 on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Official Journal of the European Union L 345/75, 2008.