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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

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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Filed under Cybersecurity, Data management, Information security, Open FAIR Certification, RISK Management, Uncategorized

The Open Group London – Day Two Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

We eagerly jumped into the second day of our Business Transformation conference in London on Tuesday October 22nd!  The setting is the magnificent Central Hall Westminster.

Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), started off the morning introducing our plenary based on Healthcare Transformation.  Steve noted that the numbers in healthcare spend are huge and bringing Enterprise Architecture (EA) to healthcare will help with efficiencies.

The well-renowned Dr. Peter Sudbury, Healthcare Specialist with HP Enterprise Services, discussed the healthcare crisis (dollars, demand, demographics), the new healthcare paradigm, barriers to change and innovation. Dr. Sudbury also commented on the real drivers of healthcare costs: healthcare inflation is higher intrinsically; innovation increases cost; productivity improvements lag other industries.

IMG_sudburyDr. Peter Sudbury

Dr. Sudbury, Larry Schmidt (Chief Technologist, HP) and Roar Engen (Head of Enterprise Architecture, Helse Sør-Øst RHF, Norway) participated in the Healthcare Transformation Panel, moderated by Steve Nunn.  The group discussed opportunities for improvement by applying EA in healthcare.  They mentioned that physicians, hospitals, drug manufacturers, nutritionists, etc. should all be working together and using Boundaryless Information Flow™ to ensure data is smoothly shared across all entities.  It was also stated that TOGAF® is beneficial for efficiencies.

Following the panel, Dr. Mario Tokoro (Founder & Executive Advisor of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. Japanese Science & Technology Agency, DEOS Project Leader) reviewed the Dependability through Assuredness™ standard, a standard of The Open Group.

The conference also offered many sessions in Finance/Commerce, Government and Tutorials/Workshops.

Margaret Ford, Consult Hyperion, UK and Henk Jonkers of BIZZdesign, Netherlands discussed “From Enterprise Architecture to Cyber Security Risk Assessment”.  The key takeaways were: complex cyber security risks require systematic, model-based risk assessment; attack navigators can provide this by linking ArchiMate® to the Risk Taxonomy.

“Applying Service-Oriented Architecture within a Business Technology Environment in the Finance Sector” was presented by Gerard Peters, Managing Consultant, Capgemini, The Netherlands. This case study is part of a white paper on Service-Oriented Architecture for Business Technology (SOA4BT).

You can view all of the plenary and many of the track presentations at livestream.com.  And for those who attended, full conference proceedings will be available.

The night culminated with a spectacular experience on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe located on the River Thames.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Healthcare, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF®

The Open Group London 2013 – Day One Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

On Monday October 21st, The Open Group kicked off the first day of our Business Transformation conference in London!  Over 275 guests attended many engaging presentations by subject matter experts in finance, healthcare and government.  Attendees from around the globe represented 28 countries including those from as far away as Columbia, Philippines, Australia, Japan and South Africa.

Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, welcomed the prestigious group.  Allen announced that The Open Group has 67 new member organizations so far this year!

The plenary launched with “Just Exactly What is Going On in Business and Technology?” by Andy Mulholland, Former Global CTO of Capgemini, who was named one of the top 25 influential CTOs by InfoWorld.  Andy’s key topics regarding digital disruption included real drivers of change, some big and fundamental implications, business model innovation, TOGAF® and the Open Platform 3.0™ initiative.

Next up was Judith Jones, CEO, Architecting the Enterprise Ltd., with a presentation entitled “One World EA Framework for Governments – The Way Forward”.  Judith shared findings from the World Economic Forum, posing the question “what keeps 1000 global leaders awake at night”? Many stats were presented with over 50 global risks – economical, societal, environmental, geopolitical and technological.

Jim Hietala, VP, Security of The Open Group announced the launch of the Open FAIR Certification for People Program.  The new program brings a much-needed certification to the market which focuses on risk analysis. Key partners include CXOWARE, Architecting the Enterprise, SNA Technologies and The Unit bv.

Richard Shreeve, Consultancy Director, IPL and Angela Parratt, Head of Transformation and joint CIO, Bath and North East Somerset Council presented “Using EA to Inform Business Transformation”.  Their case study addressed the challenges of modeling complexity in diverse organizations and the EA-led approach to driving out cost and complexity while maintaining the quality of service delivery.

Allen Brown announced that the Jericho Forum® leaders together with The Open Group management have concluded that the Jericho Forum has achieved its original mission – to establish “de-perimeterization” that touches all areas of modern business.  In declaring this mission achieved, we are now in the happy position to celebrate a decade of success and move to ensuring that the legacy of the Jericho Forum is both maintained within The Open Group and continues to be built upon.  (See photo below.)

Following the plenary, the sessions were divided into tracks – Finance/Commerce, Healthcare and Tutorials/Workshops.

During the Healthcare track, one of the presenters, Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist with HP, discussed “Challenges and Opportunities for Big Data in Healthcare”. Larry elaborated on the 4 Vs of Big Data – value, velocity, variety and voracity.

Among the many presenters in the Finance/Commerce track, Omkhar Arasaratnam, Chief Security Architect, TD Bank Group, Canada, featured “Enterprise Architecture – We Do That?: How (not) to do Enterprise Architecture at a Bank”.  Omkhar provided insight as to how he took traditional, top down, center-based architectural methodologies and applied it to a highly federated environment.

Tutorials/workshops consisted of EA Practice and Architecture Methods and Techniques.

You can view all of the plenary and many of the track presentations at livestream.com.  For those who attended, please stay tuned for the full conference proceedings.

The evening concluded with a networking reception at the beautiful and historic and Central Hall Westminster.  What an interesting, insightful, collaborative day it was!

IMG_1311

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Filed under Business Architecture, Certifications, Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Cybersecurity, Information security, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, RISK Management, Security Architecture, Standards, TOGAF®

Open FAIR Certification Launched

By Jim Hietala, The Open Group, VP of Security

The Open Group today announced the new Open FAIR Certification Program aimed at Risk Analysts, bringing a much-needed professional certification to the market that is focused on the practice of risk analysis. Both the Risk Taxonomy and Risk Analysis standards, standards of The Open Group, constitute the body of knowledge for the certification program, and they advance the risk analysis profession by defining a standard taxonomy for risk, and by describing the process aspects of a rigorous risk analysis.

We believe that this new risk analyst certification program will bring significant value to risk analysts, and to organizations seeking to hire qualified risk analysts. Adoption of these two risk standards from The Open Group will help produce more effective and useful risk analysis. This program clearly represents the growing need in our industry for professionals who understand risk analysis fundamentals.  Furthermore, the mature processes and due diligence The Open Group applies to our standards and certification programs will help make organizations comfortable with the ground breaking concepts and methods underlying FAIR. This will also help professionals looking to differentiate themselves by demonstrating the ability to take a “business perspective” on risk.

In order to become certified, Risk Analysts must pass an Open FAIR certification exam. All certification exams are administered through Prometric, Inc. Exam candidates can start the registration process by visiting Prometric’s Open Group Test Sponsor Site www.prometric.com/opengroup.  With 4,000 testing centers in its IT channel, Prometric brings Open FAIR Certification to security professionals worldwide. For more details on the exam requirements visit http://www.opengroup.org/certifications/exams.

Training courses will be delivered through an Open Group accredited channel. The accreditation of Open FAIR training courses will be available from November 1st 2013.

Our thanks to all of the members of the risk certification working group who worked tirelessly over the past 15 months to bring this certification program, along with a new risk analysis standard and a revised risk taxonomy standard to the market. Our thanks also to the sponsors of the program, whose support is important to building this program. The Open FAIR program sponsors are Architecting the Enterprise, CXOWARE, SNA, and The Unit.

Lastly, if you are involved in risk analysis, we encourage you to consider becoming Open FAIR certified, and to get involved in the risk analysis program at The Open Group. We have plans to develop an advanced level of Open FAIR certification, and we also see a great deal of best practices guidance that is needed by the industry.

For more information on the Open FAIR certification program visit http://www.opengroup.org/certifications/openfair

You may also wish to attend a webcast scheduled for 7th November, 4pm BST that will provide an overview of the Open FAIR certification program, as well as an overview of the two risk standards. You can register here

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Jim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all security and risk management programs and standards activities, including the Security Forum and the Jericho Forum.  He has participated in the development of several industry standards including O-ISM3, O-ESA, Risk Taxonomy Standard, and O-ACEML. He also led the development of compliance and audit guidance for the Cloud Security Alliance v2 publication.

Jim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has participated in the SANS Analyst/Expert program, having written several research white papers and participated in several webcasts for SANS. He has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including CSO, The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

An IT security industry veteran, he has held leadership roles at several IT security vendors.

Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University.

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Protecting Data is Good. Protecting Information Generated from Big Data is Priceless

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

This was the key message that came out of The Open Group® Big Data Security Tweet Jam on Jan 22 at 9:00 a.m. PT, which addressed several key questions centered on Big Data and security. Here is my summary of the observations made in the context of these questions.

Q1. What is Big Data security? Is it different from data security?

Big data security is more about information security. It is typically external to the corporate perimeter. IT is not prepared today to adequately monitor its sheer volume in brontobytes of data. The time period of long-term storage could violate compliance mandates. Note that storing Big Data in the Cloud changes the game with increased risks of leaks, loss, breaches.

Information resulting from the analysis of the data is even more sensitive and therefore, higher risk – especially when it is Personally Identifiable Information on the Internet of devices requiring a balance between utility and privacy.

At the end of the day, it is all about governance or as they say, “It’s the data, stupid! Govern it.”

Q2. Any thoughts about security systems as producers of Big Data, e.g., voluminous systems logs?

Data gathered from information security logs is valuable but rules for protecting it are the same. Security logs will be a good source to detect patterns of customer usage.

Q3. Most BigData stacks have no built in security. What does this mean for securing Big Data?

There is an added level of complexity because it goes across apps, network plus all end points. Having standards to establish identity, metadata, trust would go a long way. The quality of data could also be a security issue — has it been tampered with, are you being gamed etc. Note that enterprises have varying needs of security around their business data.

Q4. How is the industry dealing with the social and ethical uses of consumer data gathered via Big Data?

Big Data is still nascent and ground rules for handling the information are yet to be established. Privacy issue will be key when companies market to consumers. Organizations are seeking forgiveness rather than permission. Regulatory bodies are getting involved due to consumer pressure. Abuse of power from access to big data is likely to trigger more incentives to attack or embarrass. Note that ‘abuse’ to some is just business to others.

Q5. What lessons from basic data security and cloud security can be implemented in Big Data security?

Security testing is even more vital for Big Data. Limit access to specific devices, not just user credentials. Don’t assume security via obscurity for sensors producing bigdata inputs – they will be targets.

Q6. What are some best practices for securing Big Data? What are orgs doing now and what will organizations be doing 2-3 years from now?

Current best practices include:

  • Treat Big Data as your most valuable asset
  • Encrypt everything by default, proper key management, enforcement of policies, tokenized logs
  • Ask your Cloud and Big Data providers the right questions – ultimately, YOU are responsible for security
  • Assume data needs verification and cleanup before it is used for decisions if you are unable to establish trust with data source

Future best practices:

  • Enterprises treat Information like data today and will respect it as the most valuable asset in the future
  • CIOs will eventually become Chief Officer for Information

Q7. We’re nearing the end of today’s tweet tam. Any last thoughts on Big Data security?

Adrian Lane who participated in the tweet jam will be keynoting at The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach next week and wrote a good best practices paper on securing Big Data.

I have been part of multiple tweet chats specific to security as well as one on Information Optimization. Recently, I also conducted the first Open Group Web Jam internal to The Cloud Work Group.  What I liked about this Big Data Security Tweet Jam is that it brought two key domains together highlighting the intersection points. There was great contribution from subject matter experts forcing participants to think about one domain in the context of the other.

In a way, this post is actually synthesizing valuable information from raw data in the tweet messages – and therefore needs to be secured!

What are your thoughts on the observations made in this tweet jam? What measures are you taking to secure Big Data in your enterprise?

I really enjoyed this tweet jam and would strongly encourage you to actively participate in upcoming tweet jams hosted by The Open Group.  You get to interact with a wide spectrum of knowledgeable practitioners listed in this summary post.

NadhanHP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project, and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Journey Blog.

 

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#ogChat Summary – Big Data and Security

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

The Open Group hosted a tweet jam (#ogChat) to discuss Big Data security. In case you missed the conversation, here is a recap of the event.

The Participants

A total of 18 participants joined in the hour-long discussion, including:

Q1 What is #BigData #security? Is it different from #data security? #ogChat

Participants seemed to agree that while Big Data security is similar to data security, it is more extensive. Two major factors to consider: sensitivity and scalability.

  • @dustinkirkland At the core it’s the same – sensitive data – but the difference is in the size and the length of time this data is being stored. #ogChat
  • @jim_hietala Q1: Applying traditional security controls to BigData environments, which are not just very large info stores #ogChat
  • @TheTonyBradley Q1. The value of analyzing #BigData is tied directly to the sensitivity and relevance of that data–making it higher risk. #ogChat
  • @AdrianLane Q1 Securing #BigData is different. Issues of velocity, scale, elasticity break many existing security products. #ogChat
  • @editingwhiz #Bigdata security is standard information security, only more so. Meaning sampling replaced by complete data sets. #ogchat
  • @Dana_Gardner Q1 Not only is the data sensitive, the analysis from the data is sensitive. Secret. On the QT. Hush, hush. #BigData #data #security #ogChat
    • @Technodad @Dana_Gardner A key point. Much #bigdata will be public – the business value is in cleanup & analysis. Focus on protecting that. #ogChat

Q2 Any thoughts about #security systems as producers of #BigData, e.g., voluminous systems logs? #ogChat

  • Most agreed that security systems should be setting an example for producing secure Big Data environments.
  • @dustinkirkland Q2. They should be setting the example. If the data is deemed important or sensitive, then it should be secured and encrypted. #ogChat
  • @TheTonyBradley Q2. Data is data. Data gathered from information security logs is valuable #BigData, but rules for protecting it are the same. #ogChat
  • @elinormills Q2 SIEM is going to be big. will drive spending. #ogchat #bigdata #security
  • @jim_hietala Q2: Well instrumented IT environments generate lots of data, and SIEM/audit tools will have to be managers of this #BigData #ogchat
  • @dustinkirkland @theopengroup Ideally #bigdata platforms will support #tokenization natively, or else appdevs will have to write it into apps #ogChat

Q3 Most #BigData stacks have no built in #security. What does this mean for securing #BigData? #ogChat

The lack of built-in security hoists a target on the Big Data. While not all enterprise data is sensitive, housing it insecurely runs the risk of compromise. Furthermore, security solutions not only need to be effective, but also scalable as data will continue to get bigger.

  • @elinormills #ogchat big data is one big hacker target #bigdata #security
    • @editingwhiz @elinormills #bigdata may be a huge hacker target, but will hackers be able to process the chaff out of it? THAT takes $$$ #ogchat
    • @elinormills @editingwhiz hackers are innovation leaders #ogchat
    • @editingwhiz @elinormills Yes, hackers are innovation leaders — in security, but not necessarily dataset processing. #eweeknews #ogchat
  • @jim_hietala Q3:There will be a strong market for 3rd party security tools for #BigData – existing security technologies can’t scale #ogchat
  • @TheTonyBradley Q3. When you take sensitive info and store it–particularly in the cloud–you run the risk of exposure or compromise. #ogChat
  • @editingwhiz Not all enterprises have sensitive business data they need to protect with their lives. We’re talking non-regulated, of course. #ogchat
  • @TheTonyBradley Q3. #BigData is sensitive enough. The distilled information from analyzing it is more sensitive. Solutions need to be effective. #ogChat
  • @AdrianLane Q3 It means identifying security products that don’t break big data – i.e. they scale or leverage #BigData #ogChat
    • @dustinkirkland @AdrianLane #ogChat Agreed, this is where certifications and partnerships between the 3rd party and #bigdata vendor are essential.

Q4 How is the industry dealing with the social and ethical uses of consumer data gathered via #BigData? #ogChat #privacy

Participants agreed that the industry needs to improve when it comes to dealing with the social and ethical used of consumer data gathered through Big Data. If the data is easily accessible, hackers will be attracted. No matter what, the cost of a breach is far greater than any preventative solution.

  • @dustinkirkland Q4. #ogChat Sadly, not well enough. The recent Instagram uproar was well publicized but such abuse of social media rights happens every day.
    • @TheTonyBradley @dustinkirkland True. But, they’ll buy the startups, and take it to market. Fortune 500 companies don’t like to play with newbies. #ogChat
    • @editingwhiz Disagree with this: Fortune 500s don’t like to play with newbies. We’re seeing that if the IT works, name recognition irrelevant. #ogchat
    • @elinormills @editingwhiz @thetonybradley ‘hacker’ covers lot of ground, so i would say depends on context. some of my best friends are hackers #ogchat
    • @Technodad @elinormills A core point- data from sensors will drive #bigdata as much as enterprise data. Big security, quality issues there. #ogChat
  • @Dana_Gardner Q4 If privacy is a big issue, hacktivism may crop up. Power of #BigData can also make it socially onerous. #data #security #ogChat
  • @dustinkirkland Q4. The cost of a breach is far greater than the cost (monetary or reputation) of any security solution. Don’t risk it. #ogChat

Q5 What lessons from basic #datasecurity and #cloud #security can be implemented in #BigData security? #ogChat

The principles are the same, just on a larger scale. The biggest risks come from cutting corners due to the size and complexity of the data gathered. As hackers (like Anonymous) get better, so does security regardless of the data size.

  • @TheTonyBradley Q5. Again, data is data. The best practices for securing and protecting it stay the same–just on a more massive #BigData scale. #ogChat
  • @Dana_Gardner Q5 Remember, this is in many ways unchartered territory so expect the unexpected. Count on it. #BigData #data #security #ogChat
  • @NadhanAtHP A5 @theopengroup – Security Testing is even more vital when it comes to #BigData and Information #ogChat
  • @TheTonyBradley Q5. Anonymous has proven time and again that most existing data security is trivial. Need better protection for #BigData. #ogChat

Q6 What are some best practices for securing #BigData? What are orgs doing now, and what will orgs be doing 2-3 years from now? #ogChat

While some argued encrypting everything is the key, and others encouraged pressure on big data providers, most agreed that a multi-step security infrastructure is necessary. It’s not just the data that needs to be secured, but also the transportation and analysis processes.

  • @dustinkirkland Q6. #ogChat Encrypting everything, by default, at least at the fs layer. Proper key management. Policies. Logs. Hopefully tokenized too.
  • @dustinkirkland Q6. #ogChat Ask tough questions of your #cloud or #bigdata provider. Know what they are responsible for and who has access to keys. #ogChat
    • @elinormills Agreed–> @dustinkirkland Q6. #ogChat Ask tough questions of your #cloud or #bigdataprovider. Know what they are responsible for …
  • @Dana_Gardner Q6 Treat most #BigData as a crown jewel, see it as among most valuable assets. Apply commensurate security. #data #security #ogChat
  • @elinormills Q6 govt level crypto minimum, plus protect all endpts #ogchat #bigdata #security
  • @TheTonyBradley Q6. Multi-faceted issue. Must protect raw #BigData, plus processing, analyzing, transporting, and resulting distilled analysis. #ogChat
  • @Technodad If you don’t establish trust with data source, you need to assume data needs verification, cleanup before it is used for decisions. #ogChat

A big thank you to all the participants who made this such a great discussion!

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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