Early one morning at work, CEO Alice Johnson asks if you have a moment to chat. I need your expertise and advice on a complicated situation for the company regarding an international hacking lawsuit. In her office, Alice explains that CyberTech is serving as the cyber forensics consultant for a law firm handling the suit from a 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management, OPM. The OPM hack compromised background information on millions of workers. In a related case Anomalous, a non-US gray hat hacking group suspected in the OPM breach case, is claiming that US-based Equation Set attempted to hack its facilities. So we have a non-US and a US set of test hacker groups involved. With Anomalous, the non-US group, being a client plantiff in one case against Equation Set, the US group, and as a suspect in the OPM breach. But Alice then outlines why the case is problematic. Along with the OPM victims, CyberTech represents clients from some of the OPM breach suspect companies in unrelated cases, which could appear to be a conflict of interest. This could affect the way our company is perceived by others. We need to maintain our image as an unbiased cyber security consultant. Should CyberTech remain on both the OPM breach investigation and the overseas case at the same time? Or should we drop one of the cases? Apply your critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out what happened what we know and don’t know, and how the company might remedy this situation. I’d like a paper by the end of the week with your recommendations.
Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically
In this first step, you will prepare to respond to your boss’s request for an analysis of a problem in your organization. You realize that this will require careful thinking. So, you take time to review the process and to engage in critical thinking and analysis.
When you have completed the critical thinking exercises, you will move on to the next step: identifying the problem.
Step 2: Identify the Problem
Now that you’re prepared to think critically, it’s time to analyze the situation. Remember the direction from your CEO is to analyze the situation and advise on the two lawsuits. Review the video or transcript in Start Here as needed.
A suggested area of focus is to determine if a conflict of interest would exist in handling the two cases that might be related, and advise how to proceed.
Outline the points that you want to make in the first two sections of your paper (introduction, explanation) and draft those sections.
Next, it’s time to analyze the information.
Step 3: Analyze the Information
Now that you have some understanding of the nature of the breach and the parties involved, it’s time to gather and analyze information. The problem analysis resources will further aid your analysis and development of the third section of the paper.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information of your paper, and draft that section.
In the following step, you will consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions
Step 4: Consider and Analyze Other Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions
Once you have completed your analysis of the incident, the next step is to analyze alternative viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions. To do this, you will need to apply ethical decision-making and reasoning. Also, read the highly recommended Randolph Pherson’s “The Five Habits of the Master Thinker,” a paper written for intelligence analysts, but applicable to all analytical thinking and reasoning.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 4: Analysis of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, or Solutions of your paper, and draft that section.
When you are finished, move to the next step, which involves developing conclusions.
Step 5: Develop Well-Reasoned Conclusions
You considered alternative viewpoints in the last step. Now you’re ready to develop personal conclusions and suggest remedies so that your boss is well-equipped to brief leadership about the situation.
Remember, you may need to consult outside references, but this is not a research paper. It is more investigative in nature about the facts of the case. Cite outside sources carefully.
Now, outline your argument and draft Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations, the final sections. Your boss is expecting to receive a concise, focused paper to prepare for further meetings. Stay to the main points, although you may have more facts to answer any questions. You will submit your paper in the final step.
Step 6: Submit the Critical Thinking Paper
The final paper should be no more than five double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and references page(s). Organize the paper in accordance with your preparatory steps, using these subheadings:
- Explanation of the Issue
- Analysis of the Information
- Consideration of Alternative Viewpoints and Conclusions
- Conclusions and Recommendations
Here are some tips for success:
- Consider outside sources if they inform your case. However, stay on task.
- Use APA style for “in text” and reference citations. At this point, your citations should be error-free.
Consider these best practices for a paper:
- An effective introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone and direction for the rest of the paper;
- Supporting paragraphs that move the reader from the general introduction to the more specific aspects of your analysis;
- Body paragraphs that provide support; and,
- A conclusion that leads to a natural close to what you have presented.