Government Outreach for Global Supply Chain Integrity (OTTF)

By Sally Long, The Open Group

On May 10th in London, a select group of technology, government and Cybersecurity leaders and supply chain strategists met for a lunchtime briefing and discussion during The Open Group Conference. The message that came across loud and clear by all who participated was that fostering honest and open dialogue between government and industry is critical to securing the global supply chain; and that the only way we will do this effectively is by working together to assure coordination and adoption among current and emerging approaches.

This industry/government roundtable event was the fourth in a series of planned events for government outreach. In December and January, members of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) met with Howard Schmidt, US Cybersecurity Coordinator for the Obama Administration, and with US House and Senate Committees and the Department of Commerce. In March, there were some inroads made into the Japanese government, and in April we held a session with government officials in India. Coming up are more briefings and discussions planned for Europe, Canada, China and Brazil.

The event in London brought together representatives from Atsec, Boeing, CA Technologies, Capgemini, CESG, Chatham House, Cisco, Fraunhofer SIT, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, IDA, Kingdee Software, Microsoft, MITRE, NASA, Oracle, Real IRM, SAIC, SAP, and the UK Government. These, along with thought leaders from Chatham House, discussed global supply-chain challenges and a potential solution through The Open Group Trusted Technology Provider Framework (O-TTPF). Other existing approaches were highlighted by CESG as effective in some areas, though those areas were not directly focused on supply-chain best practices.

The beauty of the O-TTPF, a set of best practices for engineering and secure development methods and supply chain integrity, is that the Framework and guidelines are being developed by industry — architects, developers, manufacturers and supply chain experts, with input from government(s) — for industry. The fact that these best practices will be open, international, publically available and translated where appropriate, will allow all providers to understand what they need to do to “Build with Integrity” – so that customers can “Buy with Confidence”.

This is critically important because as we all know, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Even though a large system vendor may follow the O-TTPF best practices, those vendors often rely on sub-component suppliers of software and hardware from around the world, and in order to maintain the integrity of their supply-chain their sub-suppliers need to understand what it means to be trustworthy as well.

One of the OTTF’s objectives is to develop an accreditation program, which will help customers, in government and industry, identify secure technology providers and products in the global supply chain. Governments and large enterprises that base their purchasing decisions on trusted technology providers who have developed their products using the best practices identified by the O-TTPF will be able to rely on a more comprehensive approach to risk management and product assurance when selecting COTS technology products.

One of the major messages at the Roundtable event was that the OTTF is not just about major industry providers. It’s about opening the doors to all providers and all customers, and it’s about reaching out to all governments to assure the O-TTPF best practice requirements are aligned with their acquisition requirements — so that there is true global recognition and demand for Trusted Technology Providers who conform to the O-TTPF Best Practices.

The OTTF members believe it is critical to reach out to governments around the world, to foster industry-government dialogue about government acquisition requirements for trusted technology and trusted technology providers, so they can enable the global recognition required for a truly secure global supply chain. Any government or government agency representative interested in working together to provide a trusted global supply chain can contact the OTTF global outreach and acquisition team through ottf-interest@opengroup.org.

The Forum operates under The Open Group, an international vendor- and technology-neutral consortium well known for providing an open and collaborative environment for such work. We are seeking additional participants from global government and commercial entities. If you are interested in learning more about the Forum please feel free to contact me, Sally Long, OTTF Forum Director, at s.long@opengroup.org.

Sally Long, Director of Consortia Services at The Open Group, has been managing customer-vendor forums and collaborative development projects for the past nineteen years. She was the Release Engineering Section Manager for all collaborative, multi-vendor, development projects (OSF/1, DME, DCE, and Motif) at The Open Software Foundation (OSF), in Cambridge Massachusetts.  Following the merger of OSF and X/Open under The Open Group, Sally served as the Program Director for multiple Forums within The Open Group including: The Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) Forum, The Enterprise Management Forum, The Quality of Service (QoS) Task Force, The Real-time and Embedded Systems Forum and most recently the Open Group Trusted Technology Forum. Sally has also been instrumental in business development and program definition for certification programs developed and operated by The Open Group for the North American State and Provincial Lotteries Association (NASPL) and for the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum. Sally has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University.

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