Category Archives: Cybersecurity

Q&A with Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group

By The Open Group

Last month, The Open Group hosted its San Francisco 2014 conference themed “Toward Boundaryless Information Flow™.” Boundaryless Information Flow has been the pillar of The Open Group’s mission since 2002 when it was adopted as the organization’s vision for Enterprise Architecture. We sat down at the conference with The Open Group President and CEO Allen Brown to discuss the industry’s progress toward that goal and the industries that could most benefit from it now as well as The Open Group’s new Dependability through Assuredness™ Standard and what the organization’s Forums are working on in 2014.

The Open Group adopted Boundaryless Information Flow as its vision in 2002, and the theme of the San Francisco Conference has been “Towards Boundaryless Information Flow.” Where do you think the industry is at this point in progressing toward that goal?

Well, it’s progressing reasonably well but the challenge is, of course, when we established that vision back in 2002, life was a little less complex, a little bit less fast moving, a little bit less fast-paced. Although organizations are improving the way that they act in a boundaryless manner – and of course that changes by industry – some industries still have big silos and stovepipes, they still have big boundaries. But generally speaking we are moving and everyone understands the need for information to flow in a boundaryless manner, for people to be able to access and integrate information and to provide it to the teams that they need.

One of the keynotes on Day One focused on the opportunities within the healthcare industry and The Open Group recently started a Healthcare Forum. Do you see Healthcare industry as a test case for Boundaryless Information Flow and why?

Healthcare is one of the verticals that we’ve focused on. And it is not so much a test case, but it is an area that absolutely seems to need information to flow in a boundaryless manner so that everyone involved – from the patient through the administrator through the medical teams – have all got access to the right information at the right time. We know that in many situations there are shifts of medical teams, and from one medical team to another they don’t have access to the same information. Information isn’t easily shared between medical doctors, hospitals and payers. What we’re trying to do is to focus on the needs of the patient and improve the information flow so that you get better outcomes for the patient.

Are there other industries where this vision might be enabled sooner rather than later?

I think that we’re already making significant progress in what we call the Exploration, Mining and Minerals industry. Our EMMM™ Forum has produced an industry-wide model that is being adopted throughout that industry. We’re also looking at whether we can have an influence in the airline industry, automotive industry, manufacturing industry. There are many, many others, government and retail included.

The plenary on Day Two of the conference focused on The Open Group’s Dependability through Assuredness standard, which was released last August. Why is The Open Group looking at dependability and why is it important?

Dependability is ultimately what you need from any system. You need to be able to rely on that system to perform when needed. Systems are becoming more complex, they’re becoming bigger. We’re not just thinking about the things that arrive on the desktop, we’re thinking about systems like the barriers at subway stations or Tube stations, we’re looking at systems that operate any number of complex activities. And they bring an awful lot of things together that you have to rely upon.

Now in all of these systems, what we’re trying to do is to minimize the amount of downtime because downtime can result in financial loss or at worst human life, and we’re trying to focus on that. What is interesting about the Dependability through Assuredness Standard is that it brings together so many other aspects of what The Open Group is working on. Obviously the architecture is at the core, so it’s critical that there’s an architecture. It’s critical that we understand the requirements of that system. It’s also critical that we understand the risks, so that fits in with the work of the Security Forum, and the work that they’ve done on Risk Analysis, Dependency Modeling, and out of the dependency modeling we can get the use cases so that we can understand where the vulnerabilities are, what action has to be taken if we identify a vulnerability or what action needs to be taken in the event of a failure of the system. If we do that and assign accountability to people for who will do what by when, in the event of an anomaly being detected or a failure happening, we can actually minimize that downtime or remove it completely.

Now the other great thing about this is it’s not only a focus on the architecture for the actual system development, and as the system changes over time, requirements change, legislation changes that might affect it, external changes, that all goes into that system, but also there’s another circle within that system that deals with failure and analyzes it and makes sure it doesn’t happen again. But there have been so many evidences of failure recently. In the banks for example in the UK, a bank recently was unable to process debit cards or credit cards for customers for about three or four hours. And that was probably caused by the work done on a routine basis over a weekend. But if Dependability through Assuredness had been in place, that could have been averted, it could have saved an awfully lot of difficulty for an awful lot of people.

How does the Dependability through Assuredness Standard also move the industry toward Boundaryless Information Flow?

It’s part of it. It’s critical that with big systems the information has to flow. But this is not so much the information but how a system is going to work in a dependable manner.

Business Architecture was another featured topic in the San Francisco plenary. What role can business architecture play in enterprise transformation vis a vis the Enterprise Architecture as a whole?

A lot of people in the industry are talking about Business Architecture right now and trying to focus on that as a separate discipline. We see it as a fundamental part of Enterprise Architecture. And, in fact, there are three legs to Enterprise Architecture, there’s Business Architecture, there’s the need for business analysts, which are critical to supplying the information, and then there are the solutions, and other architects, data, applications architects and so on that are needed. So those three legs are needed.

We find that there are two or three different types of Business Architect. Those that are using the analysis to understand what the business is doing in order that they can inform the solutions architects and other architects for the development of solutions. There are those that are more integrated with the business that can understand what is going on and provide input into how that might be improved through technology. And there are those that can actually go another step and talk about here we have the advances and the technology and here are the opportunities for advancing our competitiveness and organization.

What are some of the other key initiatives that The Open Group’s forum and work groups will be working on in 2014?

That kind question is like if you’ve got an award, you’ve got to thank your friends, so apologies to anyone that I leave out. Let me start alphabetically with the Architecture Forum. The Architecture Forum obviously is working on the evolution of TOGAF®, they’re also working with the harmonization of TOGAF with Archimate® and they have a number of projects within that, of course Business Architecture is on one of the projects going on in the Architecture space. The Archimate Forum are pushing ahead with Archimate—they’ve got two interesting activities going on at the moment, one is called ArchiMetals, which is going to be a sister publication to the ArchiSurance case study, where the ArchiSurance provides the example of Archimate is used in the insurance industry, ArchiMetals is going to be used in a manufacturing context, so there will be a whitepaper on that and there will be examples and artifacts that we can use. They’re also working on in Archimate a standard for interoperability for modeling tools. There are four tools that are accredited and certified by The Open Group right now and we’re looking for that interoperability to help organizations that have multiple tools as many of them do.

Going down the alphabet, there’s DirecNet. Not many people know about DirecNet, but Direcnet™ is work that we do around the U.S. Navy. They’re working on standards for long range, high bandwidth mobile networking. We can go to the FACE™ Consortium, the Future Airborne Capability Environment. The FACE Consortium are working on their next version of their standard, they’re working toward accreditation, a certification program and the uptake of that through procurement is absolutely amazing, we’re thrilled about that.

Healthcare we’ve talked about. The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, where they’re working on how we can trust the supply chain in developed systems, they’ve released the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Accreditation Program, that was launched this week, and we already have one accredited vendor and two certified test labs, assessment labs. That is really exciting because now we’ve got a way of helping any organization that has large complex systems that are developed through a global supply chain to make sure that they can trust their supply chain. And that is going to be invaluable to many industries but also to the safety of citizens and the infrastructure of many countries. So the other part of the O-TTPS is that standard we are planning to move toward ISO standardization shortly.

The next one moving down the list would be Open Platform 3.0™. This is really exciting part of Boundaryless Information Flow, it really is. This is talking about the convergence of SOA, Cloud, Social, Mobile, Internet of Things, Big Data, and bringing all of that together, this convergence, this bringing together of all of those activities is really something that is critical right now, and we need to focus on. In the different areas, some of our Cloud computing standards have already gone to ISO and have been adopted by ISO. We’re working right now on the next products that are going to move through. We have a governance standard in process and an ecosystem standard has recently been published. In the area of Big Data there’s a whitepaper that’s 25 percent completed, there’s also a lot of work on the definition of what Open Platform 3.0 is, so this week the members have been working on trying to define Open Platform 3.0. One of the really interesting activities that’s gone on, the members of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum have produced something like 22 different use cases and they’re really good. They’re concise and they’re precise and the cover a number of different industries, including healthcare and others, and the next stage is to look at those and work on the ROI of those, the monetization, the value from those use cases, and that’s really exciting, I’m looking forward to peeping at that from time to time.

The Real Time and Embedded Systems Forum (RTES) is next. Real-Time is where we incubated the Dependability through Assuredness Framework and that was where that happened and is continuing to develop and that’s really good. The core focus of the RTES Forum is high assurance system, and they’re doing some work with ISO on that and a lot of other areas with multicore and, of course, they have a number of EC projects that we’re partnering with other partners in the EC around RTES.

The Security Forum, as I mentioned earlier, they’ve done a lot of work on risk and dependability. So they’ve not only their standards for the Risk Taxonomy and Risk Analysis, but they’ve now also developed the Open FAIR Certification for People, which is based on those two standards of Risk Analysis and Risk Taxonomy. And we’re already starting to see people being trained and being certified under that Open FAIR Certification Program that the Security Forum developed.

A lot of other activities are going on. Like I said, I probably left a lot of things out, but I hope that gives you a flavor of what’s going on in The Open Group right now.

The Open Group will be hosting a summit in Amsterdam May 12-14, 2014. What can we look forward to at that conference?

In Amsterdam we have a summit – that’s going to bring together a lot of things, it’s going to be a bigger conference that we had here. We’ve got a lot of activity in all of our activities; we’re going to bring together top-level speakers, so we’re looking forward to some interesting work during that week.

 

 

 

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Business Architecture, Conference, Cybersecurity, EMMMv™, Enterprise Architecture, FACE™, Healthcare, O-TTF, RISK Management, Standards, TOGAF®

Q&A with Jim Hietala on Security and Healthcare

By The Open Group

We recently spoke with Jim Hietala, Vice President, Security for The Open Group, at the 2014 San Francisco conference to discuss upcoming activities in The Open Group’s Security and Healthcare Forums.

Jim, can you tell us what the Security Forum’s priorities are going to be for 2014 and what we can expect to see from the Forum?

In terms of our priorities for 2014, we’re continuing to do work in Security Architecture and Information Security Management. In the area of Security Architecture, the big project that we’re doing is adding security to TOGAF®, so we’re working on the next version of the TOGAF standard and specification and there’s an active project involving folks from the Architecture Forum and the Security Forum to integrate security into and stripe it through TOGAF. So, on the Security Architecture side, that’s the priority. On the Information Security Management side, we’re continuing to do work in the area of Risk Management. We introduced a certification late last year, the OpenFAIR certification, and we’ll continue to do work in the area of Risk Management and Risk Analysis. We’re looking to add a second level to the certification program, and we’re doing some other work around the Risk Analysis standards that we’ve introduced.

The theme of this conference was “Towards Boundaryless Information Flow™” and many of the tracks focused on convergence, and the convergence of things Big Data, mobile, Cloud, also known as Open Platform 3.0. How are those things affecting the realm of security right now?

I think they’re just beginning to. Cloud—obviously the security issues around Cloud have been here as long as Cloud has been over the past four or five years. But if you look at things like the Internet of Things and some of the other things that comprise Open Platform 3.0, the security impacts are really just starting to be felt and considered. So I think information security professionals are really just starting to wrap their hands around, what are those new security risks that come with those technologies, and, more importantly, what do we need to do about them? What do we need to do to mitigate risk around something like the Internet of Things, for example?

What kind of security threats do you think companies need to be most worried about over the next couple of years?

There’s a plethora of things out there right now that organizations need to be concerned about. Certainly advanced persistent threat, the idea that maybe nation states are trying to attack other nations, is a big deal. It’s a very real threat, and it’s something that we have to think about – looking at the risks we’re facing, exactly what is that adversary and what are they capable of? I think profit-motivated criminals continue to be on everyone’s mind with all the credit card hacks that have just come out. We have to be concerned about cyber criminals who are profit motivated and who are very skilled and determined and obviously there’s a lot at stake there. All of those are very real things in the security world and things we have to defend against.

The Security track at the San Francisco conference focused primarily on risk management. How can companies better approach and manage risk?

As I mentioned, we did a lot of work over the last few years in the area of Risk Management and the FAIR Standard that we introduced breaks down risk into what’s the frequency of bad things happening and what’s the impact if they do happen? So I would suggest that taking that sort of approach, using something like taking the Risk Taxonomy Standard that we’ve introduced and the Risk Analysis Standard, and really looking at what are the critical assets to protect, who’s likely to attack them, what’s the probably frequency of attacks that we’ll see? And then looking at the impact side, what’s the consequence if somebody successfully attacks them? That’s really the key—breaking it down, looking at it that way and then taking the right mitigation steps to reduce risk on those assets that are really important.

You’ve recently become involved in The Open Group’s new Healthcare Forum. Why a healthcare vertical forum for The Open Group?

In the area of healthcare, what we see is that there’s just a highly fragmented aspect to the ecosystem. You’ve got healthcare information that’s captured in various places, and the information doesn’t necessarily flow from provider to payer to other providers. In looking at industry verticals, the healthcare industry seemed like an area that really needed a lot of approaches that we bring from The Open Group—TOGAF and Enterprise Architecture approaches that we have.

If you take it up to a higher level, it really needs the Boundaryless Information Flow that we talk about in The Open Group. We need to get to the point where our information as patients is readily available in a secure manner to the people who need to give us care, as well as to us because in a lot of cases the information exists as islands in the healthcare industry. In looking at healthcare it just seemed like a natural place where, in our economies – and it’s really a global problem – a lot of money is spent on healthcare and there’s a lot of opportunities for improvement, both in the economics but in the patient care that’s delivered to individuals through the healthcare system. It just seemed like a great area for us to focus on.

As the new Healthcare Forum kicks off this year, what are the priorities for the Forum?

The Healthcare Forum has just published a whitepaper summarizing the workshop findings for the workshop that we held in Philadelphia last summer. We’re also working on a treatise, which will outline our views about the healthcare ecosystem and where standards and architecture work is most needing to be done. We expect to have that whitepaper produced over the next couple of months. Beyond that, we see a lot of opportunities for doing architecture and standards work in the healthcare sector, and our membership is going to determine which of those areas to focus on, which projects to initiate first.

For more on the The Open Group Security Forum, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/security. For more on the The Open Group Healthcare Forum, see http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/industryverticals/healthcare.

62940-hietalaJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security, risk management and healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, Conference, Data management, Healthcare, Information security, Open FAIR Certification, Open Platform 3.0, RISK Management, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Accrediting the Global Supply Chain: A Conversation with O-TTPS Recognized Assessors Fiona Pattinson and Erin Connor

By The Open Group 

At the recent San Francisco 2014 conference, The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) announced the launch of the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Accreditation Program.

The program is one the first accreditation programs worldwide aimed at assuring the integrity of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) information and communication technology (ICT) products and the security of their supply chains.

In three short years since OTTF launched, the forum has grown to include more than 25 member companies dedicated to safeguarding the global supply chain against the increasing sophistication of cybersecurity attacks through standards. Accreditation is yet another step in the process of protecting global technology supply chains from maliciously tainted and counterfeit products.

As part of the program, third-party assessor companies will be employed to assess organizations applying for accreditation, with The Open Group serving as the vendor-neutral Accreditation Authority that operates the program.  Prior to the launch, the forum conducted a pilot program with a number of member companies. It was announced at the conference that IBM is the first company to becoming accredited, earning accreditation for its Application, Infrastructure and Middleware (AIM), software business division for its product integrity and supply chain practices.

We recently spoke with OTTF members Fiona Pattinson, director of strategy and business development at Atsec Information Security, and Erin Connor, director at EWA-Canada, at the San Francisco conference to learn more about the assessment process and the new program.

The O-TTPS focus is on securing the technology supply chain. What would you say are the biggest threats facing the supply chain today?

Fiona Pattinson (FP): I think in the three years since the forum began certainly all the members have discussed the various threats quite a lot. It was one of things we discussed as an important topic early on, and I don’t know if it’s the ‘biggest threat,’ but certainly the most important threats that we needed to address initially were those of counterfeit and maliciously tainted products. We came to that through both discussion with all the industry experts in the forum and also through research into some of the requirements from government, so that’s exactly how we knew which threats [to start with].

Erin Connor (EC):  And the forum benefits from having both sides of the acquisition process, both acquirers, and the suppliers and vendors. So they get both perspectives.

How would you define maliciously tainted and counterfeit products?

FP:  They are very carefully defined in the standard—we needed to do that because people’s understanding of that can vary so much.

EC: And actually the concept of ‘maliciously’ tainted was incorporated close to the end of the development process for the standard at the request of members on the acquisition side of the process.

[Note: The standard precisely defines maliciously tainted and counterfeit products as follows:

"The two major threats that acquirers face today in their COTS ICT procurements, as addressed in this Standard, are defined as:

1. Maliciously tainted product – the product is produced by the provider and is acquired

through a provider’s authorized channel, but has been tampered with maliciously.

2. Counterfeit product – the product is produced other than by, or for, the provider, or is

supplied to the provider by other than a provider’s authorized channel and is presented as being legitimate even though it is not."]

The OTTF announced the Accreditation Program for the OTTP Standard at the recent San Francisco conference. Tell us about the standard and how the accreditation program will help ensure conformance to it?

EC: The program is intended to provide organizations with a way to accredit their lifecycle processes for their product development so they can prevent counterfeit or maliciously tainted components from getting into the products they are selling to an end user or into somebody else’s supply chain. It was determined that a third-party type of assessment program would be used. For the organizations, they will know that we Assessors have gone through a qualification process with The Open Group and that we have in place all that’s required on the management side to properly do an assessment. From the consumer side, they have confidence the assessment has been completed by an independent third-party, so they know we aren’t beholden to the organizations to give them a passing grade when perhaps they don’t deserve it. And then of course The Open Group is in position to oversee the whole process and award the final accreditation based on the recommendation we provide.  The Open Group will also be the arbiter of the process between the assessors and organizations if necessary. 

FP:  So The Open Group’s accreditation authority is validating the results of the assessors.

EC: It’s a model that is employed in many, many other product or process assessment and evaluation programs where the actual accreditation authority steps back and have third parties do the assessment.

FP: It is important that the assessor companies are working to the same standard so that there’s no advantage in taking one assessor over the other in terms of the quality of the assessments that are produced.

How does the accreditation program work?

FP: Well, it’s brand new so we don’t know if it is perfect yet, but having said that, we have worked over several months on defining the process, and we have drawn from The Open Group’s existing accreditation programs, as well as from the forum experts who have worked in the accreditation field for many years. We have been performing pilot accreditations in order to check out how the process works. So it is already tested.

How does it actually work? Well, first of all an organization will feel the need to become accredited and at that point will apply to The Open Group to get the accreditation underway. Once their scope of accreditation – which may be as small as one product or theoretically as large as a whole global company – and once the application is reviewed and approved by The Open Group, then they engage an assessor.

There is a way of sampling a large scope to identify the process variations in a larger scope using something we term ‘selective representative products.’ It’s basically a way of logically sampling a big scope so that we capture the process variations within the scope and make sure that the assessment is kept to a reasonable size for the organization undergoing the assessment, but it also gives good assurance to the consumers that it is a representative sample. The assessment is performed by the Recognized Assessor company, and a final report is written and provided to The Open Group for their validation. If everything is in order, then the company will be accredited and their scope of conformance will be added to the accreditation register and trademarked.

EC: So the customers of that organization can go and check the registration for exactly what products are covered by the scope.

FP: Yes, the register is public and anybody can check. So if IBM says WebSphere is accredited, you can go and check that claim on The Open Group web site.

How long does the process take or does it vary?

EC: It will vary depending on how large the scope to be accredited is in terms of the size of the representative set and the documentation evidence. It really does depend on what the variations in the processes are among the product lines as to how long it takes the assessor to go through the evidence and then to produce the report. The other side of the coin is how long it takes the organization to produce the evidence. It may well be that they might not have it totally there at the outset and will have to create some of it.

FP: As Erin said, it varies by the complexity and the variation of the processes and hence the number of selected representative products. There are other factors that can influence the duration. There are three parties influencing that: The applicant Organization, The Open Group’s Accreditation Authority and the Recognized Assessor.

For example, we found that the initial work by the Organization and the Accreditation Authority in checking the scope and the initial documentation can take a few weeks for a complex scope, of course for the pilots we were all new at doing that. In this early part of the project it is vital to get the scope both clearly defined and approved since it is key to a successful accreditation.

It is important that an Organization assigns adequate resources to help keep this to the shortest time possible, both during the initial scope discussions, and during the assessment. If the Organization can provide all the documentation before they get started, then the assessors are not waiting for that and the duration of the assessment can be kept as short as possible.

Of course the resources assigned by the Recognized Assessor also influences how long an assessment takes. A variable for the assessors is how much documentation do they have to read and review? It might be small or it might be a mountain.

The Open Group’s final review and oversight of the assessment takes some time and is influenced by resource availability within that organization. If they have any questions it may take a little while to resolve.

What kind of safeguards does the accreditation program put in place for enforcing the standard?

FP: It is a voluntary standard—there’s no requirement to comply. Currently some of the U.S. government organizations are recommending it. For example, NASA in their SEWP contract and some of the draft NIST documents on Supply Chain refer to it, too.

EC: In terms of actual oversight, we review what their processes are as assessors, and the report and our recommendations are based on that review. The accreditation expires after three years so before the three years is up, the organization should actually get the process underway to obtain a re-accreditation.  They would have to go through the process again but there will be a few more efficiencies because they’ve done it before. They may also wish to expand the scope to include the other product lines and portions of the company. There aren’t any periodic ‘spot checks’ after accreditation to make sure they’re still following the accredited processes, but part of what we look at during the assessment is that they have controls in place to ensure they continue doing the things they are supposed to be doing in terms of securing their supply chain.

FP:  And then the key part is the agreement the organizations signs with The Open Group includes the fact the organization warrant and represent that they remain in conformance with the standard throughout the accreditation period. So there is that assurance too, which builds on the more formal assessment checks.

What are the next steps for The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum?  What will you be working on this year now that the accreditation program has started?

FP: Reviewing the lessons we learned through the pilot!

EC: And reviewing comments from members on the standard now that it’s publicly available and working on version 1.1 to make any corrections or minor modifications. While that’s going on, we’re also looking ahead to version 2 to make more substantial changes, if necessary. The standard is definitely going to be evolving for a couple of years and then it will reach a steady state, which is the normal evolution for a standard.

For more details on the O-TTPS accreditation program, to apply for accreditation, or to learn more about becoming an O-TTPS Recognized Assessor visit the O-TTPS Accreditation page.

For more information on The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum please visit the OTTF Home Page.

The O-TTPS standard and the O-TTPS Accreditation Policy they are freely available from the Trusted Technology Section in The Open Group Bookstore.

For information on joining the OTTF membership please contact Mike Hickey – m.hickey@opengroup.org

Fiona Pattinson Fiona Pattinson is responsible for developing new and existing atsec service offerings.  Under the auspices of The Open Group’s OTTF, alongside many expert industry colleagues, Fiona has helped develop The Open Group’s O-TTPS, including developing the accreditation program for supply chain security.  In the past, Fiona has led service developments which have included establishing atsec’s US Common Criteria laboratory, the CMVP cryptographic module testing laboratory, the GSA FIPS 201 TP laboratory, TWIC reader compliance testing, NPIVP, SCAP, PCI, biometrics testing and penetration testing. Fiona has responsibility for understanding a broad range of information security topics and the application of security in a wide variety of technology areas from low-level design to the enterprise level.

ErinConnorErin Connor is the Director at EWA-Canada responsible for EWA-Canada’s Information Technology Security Evaluation & Testing Facility, which includes a Common Criteria Test Lab, a Cryptographic & Security Test Lab (FIPS 140 and SCAP), a Payment Assurance Test Lab (device testing for PCI PTS POI & HSM, Australian Payment Clearing Association and Visa mPOS) and an O-TTPS Assessor lab Recognized by the Open Group.  Erin participated with other expert members of the Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) in the development of The Open Group Trusted Technology Provider Standard for supply chain security and its accompanying Accreditation Program.  Erin joined EWA-Canada in 1994 and his initial activities in the IT Security and Infrastructure Assurance field included working on the team fielding a large scale Public Key Infrastructure system, Year 2000 remediation and studies of wireless device vulnerabilities.  Since 2000, Erin has been working on evaluations of a wide variety of products including hardware security modules, enterprise security management products, firewalls, mobile device and management products, as well as system and network vulnerability management products.  He was also the only representative of an evaluation lab in the Biometric Evaluation Methodology Working Group, which developed a proposed methodology for the evaluation of biometric technologies under the Common Criteria.

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Filed under Accreditations, Cybersecurity, OTTF, Professional Development, Standards, Supply chain risk

Facing the Challenges of the Healthcare Industry – An Interview with Eric Stephens of The Open Group Healthcare Forum

By The Open Group

The Open Group launched its new Healthcare Forum at the Philadelphia conference in July 2013. The forum’s focus is on bringing Boundaryless Information Flow™ to the healthcare industry to enable data to flow more easily throughout the complete healthcare ecosystem through a standardized vocabulary and messaging. Leveraging the discipline and principles of Enterprise Architecture, including TOGAF®, the forum aims to develop standards that will result in higher quality outcomes, streamlined business practices and innovation within the industry.

At the recent San Francisco 2014 conference, Eric Stephens, Enterprise Architect at Oracle, delivered a keynote address entitled, “Enabling the Opportunity to Achieve Boundaryless Information Flow” along with Larry Schmidt, HP Fellow at Hewlett-Packard. A veteran of the healthcare industry, Stephens was Senior Director of Enterprise Architects Excellus for BlueCross BlueShield prior to joining Oracle and he is an active member of the Healthcare Forum.

We sat down after the keynote to speak with Stephens about the challenges of healthcare, how standards can help realign the industry and the goals of the forum. The opinions expressed here are Stephens’ own, not of his employer.

What are some of the challenges currently facing the healthcare industry?

There are a number of challenges, and I think when we look at it as a U.S.-centric problem, there’s a disproportionate amount of spending that’s taking place in the U.S. For example, if you look at GDP or percentage of GDP expenditures, we’re looking at now probably 18 percent of GDP [in the U.S.], and other developed countries are spending a full 5 percent less than that of their GDP, and in some cases they’re getting better outcomes outside the U.S.

The mere fact that there’s the existence of what we call “medical tourism, where if I need a hip replacement, I can get it done for a fraction of the cost in another country, same or better quality care and have a vacation—a rehab vacation—at the same time and bring along a spouse or significant other, means there’s a real wide range of disparity there. 

There’s also a lack of transparency. Having worked at an insurance company, I can tell you that with the advent of high deductible plans, there’s a need for additional cost information. When I go on Amazon or go to a local furniture store, I know what the cost is going to be for what I’m about to purchase. In the healthcare system, we don’t get that. With high deductible plans, if I’m going to be responsible for a portion or a larger portion of the fee, I want to know what it is. And what happens is, the incentives to drive costs down force the patient to be a consumer. The consumer now asks the tough questions. If my daughter’s going in for a tonsillectomy, show me a bill of materials that shows me what’s going to be done – if you are charging me $20/pill for Tylenol, I’ll bring my own. Increased transparency is what will in turn drive down the overall costs.

I think there’s one more thing, and this gets into the legal side of things. There is an exorbitant amount of legislation and regulation around what needs to be done. And because every time something goes sideways, there’s going to be a lawsuit, doctors will prescribe an extra test, and extra X-ray for a patient whether they need it or not.

The healthcare system is designed around a vicious cycle of diagnose-treat-release. It’s not incentivized to focus on prevention and management. Oregon is promoting these coordinated care organizations (CCOs) that would be this intermediary that works with all medical professionals – whether it was physical, mental, dental, even social worker – to coordinate episodes of care for patients. This drives down inappropriate utilization – for example, using an ER as a primary care facility and drives the medical system towards prevention and management of health. 

Your keynote with Larry Schmidt of HP focused a lot on cultural changes that need to take place within the healthcare industry – what are some of the changes necessary for the healthcare industry to put standards into place?

I would say culturally, it goes back to those incentives, and it goes back to introducing this idea of patient-centricity. And for the medical community, to really start recognizing that these individuals are consumers and increased choice is being introduced, just like you see in other industries. There are disruptive business models. As a for instance, medical tourism is a disruptive business model for United States-based healthcare. The idea of pharmacies introducing clinical medicine for routine care, such as what you see at a CVS, Wal-Mart or Walgreens. I can get a flu shot, I can get a well-check visit, I can get a vaccine – routine stuff that doesn’t warrant a full-blown medical professional. It’s applying the right amount of medical care to a particular situation.

Why haven’t existing standards been adopted more broadly within the industry? What will help providers be more likely to adopt standards?

I think the standards adoption is about “what’s in it for me, the WIIFM idea. It’s demonstrating to providers that utilizing standards is going to help them get out of the medical administration business and focus on their core business, the same way that any other business would want to standardize its information through integration, processes and components. It reduces your overall maintenance costs going forward and arguably you don’t need a team of billing folks sitting in an doctor’s office because you have standardized exchanges of information.

Why haven’t they been adopted? It’s still a question in my mind. Why would a doctor not want to do that is perhaps a question we’re going to need to explore as part of the Healthcare Forum.

Is it doctors that need to adopt the standards or technologies or combination of different constituents within the ecosystem?

I think it’s a combination. We hear a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the health exchanges. What we don’t hear about is the legislation to drive toward standardization to increase interoperability. So unfortunately it would seem the financial incentives or things we’ve tried before haven’t worked, and we may simply have to resort to legislation or at least legislative incentives to make it happen because part of the funding does cover information exchanges so you can move health information between providers and other actors in the healthcare system.

You’re advocating putting the individual at the center of the healthcare ecosystem. What changes need to take place within the industry in order to do this?

I think it’s education, a lot of education that has to take place. I think that individuals via the incentive model around high deductible plans will force some of that but it’s taking responsibility and understanding the individual role in healthcare. It’s also a cultural/societal phenomenon.

I’m kind of speculating here, and going way beyond what enterprise architecture or what IT would deliver, but this is a philosophical thing around if I have an ailment, chances are there’s a pill to fix it. Look at the commercials, every ailment say hypertension, it’s easy, you just dial the medication correctly and you don’t worry as much about diet and exercise. These sorts of things – our over-reliance on medication. I’m certainly not going to knock the medications that are needed for folks that absolutely need them – but I think we can become too dependent on pharmacological solutions for our health problems.   

What responsibility will individuals then have for their healthcare? Will that also require a cultural and behavioral shift for the individual?

The individual has to start managing his or her own health. We manage our careers and families proactively. Now we need to focus on our health and not just float through the system. It may come to financial incentives for certain “individual KPIs such as blood pressure, sugar levels, or BMI. Advances in medical technology may facilitate more personal management of one’s health.

One of the Healthcare Forum’s goals is to help establish Boundaryless Information Flow within the Healthcare industry you’ve said that understanding the healthcare ecosystem will be a key component for that what does that ecosystem encompass and why is it important to know that first?

Very simply we’re talking about the member/patient/consumer, then we get into the payers, the providers, and we have to take into account government agencies and other non-medical agents, but they all have to work in concert and information needs to flow between those organizations in a very standardized way so that decisions can be made in a very timely fashion.

It can’t be bottled up, it’s got to be provided to the right provider at the right time, otherwise, best case, it’s going to cost more to manage all the actors in the system. Worst case, somebody dies or there is a “never event due to misinformation or lack of information during the course of care. The idea of Boundaryless Information Flow gives us the opportunity to standardize, have easily accessible information – and by the way secured – it can really aide in that decision-making process going forward. It’s no different than Wal-Mart knowing what kind of merchandise sells well before and after a hurricane (i.e., beer and toaster pastries, BTW). It’s the same kind of real-time information that’s made available to a Google car so it can steer its way down the road. It’s that kind of viscosity needed to make the right decisions at the right time.

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, how can Boundarylesss Information Flow and data collection on individuals be achieved and still protect patient privacy?

We can talk about standards and the flow and the technical side. We need to focus on the security and privacy side.  And there’s going to be a legislative side because we’re going to touch on real fundamental data governance issue – who owns the patient record? Each actor in the system thinks they own the patient record. If we’re going to require more personal accountability for healthcare, then shouldn’t the consumer have more ownership? 

We also need to address privacy disclosure regulations to avoid catastrophic data leaks of protected health information (PHI). We need bright IT talent to pull off the integration we are talking about here. We also need folks who are well versed in the privacy laws and regulations. I’ve seen project teams of 200 have up to eight folks just focusing on the security and privacy considerations. We can argue about headcount later but my point is the same – one needs some focused resources around this topic.

What will standards bring to the healthcare industry that is missing now?

I think the standards, and more specifically the harmonization of the standards, is going to bring increased maintainability of solutions, I think it’s going to bring increased interoperability, I think it’s going to bring increased opportunities too. We see mobile computing or even DropBox, that has API hooks into all sorts of tools, and it’s well integrated – so I can integrate and I can move files between devices, I can move files between apps because they have hooks it’s easy to work with. So it’s building these communities of developers, apps and technical capabilities that makes it easy to move the personal health record for example, back and forth between providers and it’s not a cataclysmic event to integrate a new version of electronic health records (EHR) or to integrate the next version of an EHR. This idea of standardization but also some flexibility that goes into it.

Are you looking just at the U.S. or how do you make a standard that can go across borders and be international?

It is a concern, much of my thinking and much of what I’ve conveyed today is U.S.-centric, based on our problems, but many of these interoperability problems are international. We’re going to need to address it; I couldn’t tell you what the sequence is right now. There are other considerations, for example, single vs. multi-payer—that came up in the keynote. We tend to think that if we stay focused on the consumer/patient we’re going to get it for all constituencies. It will take time to go international with a standard, but it wouldn’t be the first time. We have a host of technical standards for the Internet (e.g., TCP/IP, HTTP). The industry has been able to instill these standards across geographies and vendors. Admittedly, the harmonization of health care-related standards will be more difficult. However, as our world shrinks with globalization an international lens will need to be applied to this challenge. 

Eric StephensEric Stephens (@EricStephens) is a member of Oracle’s executive advisory community where he focuses on advancing clients’ business initiatives leveraging the practice of Business and Enterprise Architecture. Prior to joining Oracle he was Senior Director of Enterprise Architecture at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield leading the organization with architecture design, innovation, and technology adoption capabilities within the healthcare industry.

 

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New Accreditation Program – Raises the Bar for Securing Global Supply Chains

By Sally Long, Director of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF)™

In April 2013, The Open Group announced the release of the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) 1.0 – Mitigating Maliciously Tainted and Counterfeit Products. Now we are announcing the O-TTPS Accreditation Program, launched on February 3, 2014, which enables organizations that conform to the standard to be accredited as Open Trusted Technology Providers™.

The O-TTPS, a standard of The Open Group, provides a set of guidelines, recommendations and requirements that help assure against maliciously tainted and counterfeit products throughout commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) information and communication technology (ICT) product lifecycles. The standard includes best practices throughout all phases of a product’s life cycle: design, sourcing, build, fulfillment, distribution, sustainment, and disposal, thus enhancing the integrity of COTS ICT products and the security of their global supply chains.

This accreditation program is one of the first of its kind in providing accreditation for conforming to standards for product integrity coupled with supply chain security.

The standard and the accreditation program are the result of a collaboration between government, third party evaluators and some of industry’s most mature and respected providers who came together and, over a period of four years, shared their practices for integrity and security, including those used in-house and those used with their own supply chains.

Applying for O-TTPS Accreditation

When the OTTF started this initiative, one of its many mantras was “raise all boats.” The  objective was to raise the security bar across the full spectrum of the supply chain, from small component suppliers to the providers who include those components in their products and to the integrators who incorporate those providers’ products into customers’ systems.

The O-TTPS Accreditation Program is open to all component suppliers, providers and integrators. The holistic aspect of this program’s potential, as illustrated in the diagram below should not be underestimated—but it will take a concerted effort to reach and encourage all constituents in the supply chain to become involved.

OTTPSThe importance of mitigating the risk of maliciously tainted and counterfeit products

The focus on mitigating the risks of tainted and counterfeit products by increasing the security of the supply chain is critical in today’s global economy. Virtually nothing is made from one source.

COTS ICT supply chains are complex. A single product can be comprised of hundreds of components from multiple component suppliers from numerous different areas around the world—and providers can change their component suppliers frequently depending on the going rate for a particular component.  If, along the supply chain, bad things happen, such as inserting counterfeit components in place of authentic ones or inserting maliciously tainted code or the double-hammer—maliciously tainted counterfeit parts—then terrible things can happen when that product is installed at a customer site.

With the threat of tainted and counterfeit technology products posing a major risk to global organizations, it is increasingly important for those organizations to take what steps they can to mitigate these risks. The O-TTPS Accreditation Program is one of those steps. Can an accreditation program completely eliminate the risk of tainted and counterfeit components? No!  Does it reduce the risk? Absolutely!

How the Accreditation Program works

The Open Group, with over 25 years’ experience managing vendor- and technology-neutral certification programs, will assume the role of the Accreditation Authority over the entire program. Additionally the program will utilize third-party assessors to assess conformance to the O-TTPS requirements.

Companies seeking accreditation will declare their Scope of Accreditation, which means they can choose to be accredited for conforming to the O-TTPS standard and adhering to the best practice requirements across their entire enterprise, within a specific product line or business unit or within an individual product.  Organizations applying for accreditation are then required to provide evidence of conformance for each of the O-TTPS requirements, demonstrating they have the processes in place to secure in-house development and their supply chains across the entire COTS ICT product lifecycle. O-TTPS accredited organizations will then be able to identify themselves as Open Trusted Technology Providers™ and will become part of a public registry of trusted providers.

The Open Group has also instituted the O-TTPS Recognized Assessor Program, which assures that Recognized Assessor (companies) meet certain criteria as assessor organizations and that their assessors (individuals) meet an additional set of criteria and have passed the O-TTPS Assessor exam, before they can be assigned to an O-TTPS Assessment. The Open Group will operate this program, grant O-TTPS Recognized Assessor certificates and list those qualifying organizations on a public registry of recognized assessor companies.

Efforts to increase awareness of the program

The Open Group understands that to achieve global uptake we need to reach out to other countries across the globe for market adoption, as well as to other standards groups for harmonization. The forum has a very active outreach and harmonization work group and the OTTF is increasingly being recognized for its efforts. A number of prominent U.S. government agencies, including the General Accounting Office and NASA have recognized the standard as an important supply chain security effort. Dave Lounsbury, the CTO of The Open Group, has testified before Congress on the value of this initiative from the industry-government partnership perspective. The Open Group has also met with President Obama’s Cybersecurity Coordinators (past and present) to apprise them of our work. We continue to work closely with NIST from the perspective of the Cybersecurity Framework, which recognizes the supply chain as a critical area for the next version, and the OTTF work is acknowledged in NIST’s Special Publication 161. We have liaisons with ISO and are working internally at mapping our standards and accreditation to Common Criteria. The O-TTPS has also been discussed with government agencies in China, India, Japan and the UK.

The initial version of the standard and the accreditation program are just the beginning. OTTF members will continue to evolve both the standard and the accreditation program to provide additional versions that refine existing requirements, introduce additional requirements, and cover additional threats. And the outreach and harmonization efforts will continue to strengthen so that we can reach that holistic potential of Open Trusted Technology Providers™ throughout all global supply chains.

For more details on the O-TTPS accreditation program, to apply for accreditation, or to learn more about becoming an O-TTPS Recognized Assessor visit the O-TTPS Accreditation page.

For more information on The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum please visit the OTTF Home Page.

The O-TTPS standard and the O-TTPS Accreditation Policy they are freely available from the Trusted Technology Section in The Open Group Bookstore.

For information on joining the OTTF membership please contact Mike Hickey – m.hickey@opengroup.org

Sally LongSally Long is the Director of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF). She has managed customer supplier forums and collaborative development projects for over twenty years. She was the release engineering section manager for all multi-vendor collaborative technology development projects at The Open Software Foundation (OSF) in Cambridge Massachusetts. Following the merger of the OSF and X/Open under The Open Group, she served as director for multiple forums in The Open Group. Sally has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Measuring the Immeasurable: You Have More Data Than You Think You Do

By Jim Hietala, Vice President, Security, The Open Group

According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, the average U.S. company experiences more than 100 successful cyber-attacks each year at a cost of $11.6M. By enabling security technologies, those companies can reduce losses by nearly $4M and instituting security governance reduces costs by an average of $1.5M, according to the study.

In light of increasing attacks and security breaches, executives are increasingly asking security and risk professionals to provide analyses of individual company risk and loss estimates. For example, the U.S. healthcare sector has been required by the HIPAA Security rule to perform annual risk assessments for some time now. The recent HITECH Act also added security breach notification and disclosure requirements, increased enforcement in the form of audits and increased penalties in the form of fines. Despite federal requirements, the prospect of measuring risk and doing risk analyses can be a daunting task that leaves even the best of us with a case of “analysis paralysis.”

Many IT experts agree that we are nearing a time where risk analysis is not only becoming the norm, but when those risk figures may well be used to cast blame (or be used as part of a defense in a lawsuit) if and when there are catastrophic security breaches that cost consumers, investors and companies significant losses.

In the past, many companies have been reluctant to perform risk analyses due to the perception that measuring IT security risk is too difficult because it’s intangible. But if IT departments could soon become accountable for breaches, don’t you want to be able to determine your risk and the threats potentially facing your organization?

In his book, How to Measure Anything, father of Applied Information Economics Douglas Hubbard points out that immeasurability is an illusion and that organizations do, in fact, usually have the information they need to create good risk analyses. Part of the misperception of immeasurability stems from a lack of understanding of what measurement is actually meant to be. According to Hubbard, most people, and executives in particular, expect measurement and analysis to produce an “exact” number—as in, “our organization has a 64.5 percent chance of having a denial of service attack next year.”

Hubbard argues that, as risk analysts, we need to look at measurement more like how scientists look at things—measurement is meant to reduce uncertainty—not to produce certainty—about a quantity based on observation.  Proper measurement should not produce an exact number, but rather a range of possibility, as in “our organization has a 30-60 percent chance of having a denial of service attack next year.” Realistic measurement of risk is far more likely when expressed as a probability distribution with a range of outcomes than in terms of one number or one outcome.

The problem that most often produces “analysis paralysis” is not just the question of how to derive those numbers but also how to get to the information that will help produce those numbers. If you’ve been tasked, for instance, with determining the risk of a breach that has never happened to your organization before, perhaps a denial of service attack against your web presence, how can you make an accurate determination about something that hasn’t happened in the past? Where do you get your data to do your analysis? How do you model that analysis?

In an article published in CSO Magazine, Hubbard argues that organizations have far more data than they think they do and they actually need less data than they may believe they do in order to do proper analyses. Hubbard says that IT departments, in particular, have gotten so used to having information stored in databases that they can easily query, they forget there are many other sources to gather data from. Just because something hasn’t happened yet and you haven’t been gathering historical data on it and socking it away in your database doesn’t mean you either don’t have any data or that you can’t find what you need to measure your risk. Even in the age of Big Data, there is plenty of useful data outside of the big database.

You will still need to gather that data. But you just need enough to be able to measure it accurately not necessarily precisely. In our recently published Open Group Risk Assessment Standard (O-RA), this is called calibration of estimates. Calibration provides a method for making good estimates, which are necessary for deriving a measured range of probability for risk. Section 3 of the O-RA standard uses provides a comprehensive look at how best to come up with calibrated estimates, as well as how to determine other risk factors using the FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk) model.

So where do you get your data if it’s not already stored and easily accessible in a database? There are numerous sources you can turn to, both externally and internally. You just have to do the research to find it. For example, even if your company hasn’t experienced a DNS attack, many others have—what was their experience when it happened? This information is out there online—you just need to search for it. Industry reports are another source of information. Verizon publishes its own annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report for one. DatalossDB publishes an open data beach incident database that provides information on data loss incidents worldwide. Many vendors publish annual security reports and issue regular security advisories. Security publications and analyst firms such as CSO, Gartner, Forrester or Securosis all have research reports that data can be gleaned from.

Then there’s your internal information. Chances are your IT department has records you can use—they likely count how many laptops are lost or stolen each year. You should also look to the experts within your company to help. Other people can provide a wealth of valuable information for use in your analysis. You can also look to the data you do have on related or similar attacks as a gauge.

Chances are, you already have the data you need or you can easily find it online. Use it.

With the ever-growing list of threats and risks organizations face today, we are fast reaching a time when failing to measure risk will no longer be acceptable—in the boardroom or even by governments.

Jim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security and risk management programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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Introducing Two New Security Standards for Risk Analysis—Part II – Risk Analysis Standard

By Jim Hietala, VP Security, The Open Group

Last week we took a look at one of the new risk standards recently introduced by The Open Group® Security Forum at the The Open Group London Conference 2013, the Risk Taxonomy Technical Standard 2.0 (O-RT). Today’s blog looks at its sister standard, the Risk Analysis (O-RA) Standard, which provides risk professionals the tools they need to perform thorough risk analyses within their organizations for better decision-making about risk.

Risk Analysis (O-RA) Standard

The new Risk Analysis Standard provides a comprehensive guide for performing effective analysis scenarios within organizations using the Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR™) framework. O-RA is geared toward managing the frequency and magnitude of loss that can arise from a threat, whether human, animal or a natural event–in other words “how often bad things happened and how bad they are when they occur.” Used together, the O-RT and O-RA Standards provide organizations with a way to perform consistent risk modeling, that can not only help thoroughly explain risk factors to stakeholders but allow information security professionals to strengthen existing or create better analysis methods. O-RA may also be used in conjunction with other risk frameworks to perform risk analysis.

The O-RA standard is also meant to provide something more than a mere assessment of risk. Many professionals within the security industry often fail to distinguish between “assessing” risk vs. “analysis” of risk. This standard goes beyond assessment by supporting effective analyses so that risk statements are less vulnerable to problems and are more meaningful and defensible than assessments that provide only the broad risk-ratings (“this is a 4 on a scale of 1-to-5”) normally used in assessments.

O-RA also lays out standard process for approaching risk analysis that can help organizations streamline the way they approach risk measurement. By focusing in on these four core process elements, organizations are able to perform more effective analyses:

  • Clearly identifying and characterizing the assets, threats, controls and impact/loss elements at play within the scenario being assessed
  • Understanding the organizational context for analysis (i.e. what’s at stake from an organizational perspective)
  • Measuring/estimating various risk factors
  • Calculating risk using a model that represents a logical, rational, and useful view of what risk is and how it works.

Because measurement and calculation are essential elements of properly analyzing risk variables, an entire chapter of the standard is dedicated to how to measure and calibrate risk. This chapter lays out a number of useful approaches for establishing risk variables, including establishing baseline risk estimates and ranges; creating distribution ranges and most likely values; using Monte Carlo simulations; accounting for uncertainty; determining accuracy vs. precision and subjective vs. objective criteria; deriving vulnerability; using ordinal scales; and determining diminishing returns.

Finally, a practical, real-world example is provided to take readers through an actual risk analysis scenario. Using the FAIR model, the example outlines the process for dealing with an threat in which an HR executive at a large bank has left the user name and password that allow him access to all the company’s HR systems on a Post-It note tacked onto his computer in his office in clear view of anyone (other employees, cleaning crews, etc.) who comes into the office.

The scenario outlines four stages in assessing this risk:

  1. .    Stage 1: Identify Scenario Components (Scope the Analysis)
  2. .    Stage 2: Evaluate Loss Event Frequency (LEF)
  3. .    Stage 3: Evaluate Loss Magnitude (LM)
  4. .    Stage 4: Derive and Articulate Risk

Each step of the risk analysis process is thoroughly outlined for the scenario to provide Risk Analysts an example of how to perform an analysis process using the FAIR framework. Considerable guidance is provided for stages 2 and 3, in particular, as those are the most critical elements in determining organizational risk.

Ultimately, the O-RA is a guide to help organizations make better decisions about which risks are the most critical for the organization to prioritize and pay attention to versus those that are less important and may not warrant attention. It is critical for Risk Analysts and organizations to become more consistent in this practice because lack of consistency in determining risk among information security professionals has been a major obstacle in allowing security professionals a more legitimate “seat at the table” in the boardroom with other business functions (finance, HR, etc.) within organizations.

For our profession to evolve and grow, consistency and accurate measurement is key. Issues and solutions must be identified consistently and comparisons and measurement must be based on solid foundations, as illustrated below.

Risk2

Chained Dependencies

O-RA can help organizations arrive at better decisions through consistent analysis techniques as well as provide more legitimacy within the profession.  Without a foundation from which to manage information risk, Risk Analysts and information security professionals may rely too heavily on intuition, bias, commercial or personal agendas for their analyses and decision making. By outlining a thorough foundation for Risk Analysis, O-RA provides not only a common foundation for performing risk analyses but the opportunity to make better decisions and advance the security profession.

For more on the O-RA Standard or to download it, please visit: https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/C13G.

Jim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security and risk management programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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