Purpose – This paper seeks to delve into the concept of determining the survivability of critical infrastructure in society, especially information-based networks. Design/methodology/approach – Discusses the need for and the importance of an analysis language called EASEL, which aids in determining the survivability of critical systems through the use and creation of emergent simulations. Findings – Much of what has been presented here is still in its conceptual and research stage. There is still much to determine and define in this new research discipline of survivability. The survivability of critical systems can be determined by utilizing EASEL simulations to describe security situations. Originality/value – Armed with the knowledge gained in this paper, it is hoped that organizations can adopt strategies to protect their information systems and make them resilient and survivable.