Tag Archives: enterprise architecture

Update on The Open Group France: A Conversation with Eric Boulay

By The Open Group

Following this spring’s European Summit, we reached out to Eric Boulay, our French partner, to catch up on the latest goings on at The Open Group France. Boulay, who is also the CEO of our French affiliate, Arismore, provided us an update on affiliate growth and also discussed the architectural issues currently facing French companies.

Update

As Eric points out in the interview below, digital transformation is one of the largest trends French companies are grappling with. To provide some guidance, The Open Group France has recently published a new whitepaper entitled “Key Issues and Skills in Digital Transformation.” In addition, the organization uses a new publication, “TOGAF En Action” to organize meetings and share TOGAF® case studies. The TOGAF 9.1 Pocket Guide has also recently been translated into French, and a French TOGAF app is now available for iPhone users with an Android version in the works.

One new member, Adservio, has joined The Open Group France in the past quarter, and three memberships were recently renewed. The Open Group France will host an Architecture Practitioners Conference in Paris on June 17th.

Q&A

What are some of the latest goings on with The Open Group France?

France is accelerating in digital transformation so now is a good time to speed up architectural discipline. Training is doing well, and consistency and service in TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, and Enterprise Architecture are doing well because there is a move toward digital transformation. In the France architecture forum, we have meetings every six weeks to share activities and case studies. We are currently raising awareness for The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum. It’s not well-known today in France. It’s just starting up and a brand new subject.

What technology trends are Enterprise Architects in Europe grappling with today?

Definitely there is more interest in closing the gap between strategy, business and information systems. There are two topics – one is what we used to call enterprise IT architecture. IT guys are working to be more and more effective in managing IT assets—this has been the same story for a while. But what is emerging right now is—and this is due to digital transformation—there is a strong need to close the gap between enterprise strategy and information systems. This means that we are working, for example, with ArchiMate® to better understand business motivations and to go from business motivations to a roadmap to build next generation information systems. So this is a new topic because now we can say that Enterprise Architecture is no longer just an IT topic, it’s now an enterprise topic. Enterprise Architects are more and more in the right position to work both on the business and IT sides. This is a hot topic, and France is participating in the Information Architecture Work Group to propose new guidance and prescriptions. Also there is some work on the table with TOGAF to better close the gap between strategy and IT. This is exactly what we have to do better in the The Open Group Architecture Forum, and we’re working on it.

What are some of the things that can be done to start closing that gap?

First is to speak the business language. What we used to do is really to work close with the business guys. We have to use, for example, ArchiMate language but not talk about ArchiMate languages.

For example, there was an international account we had in Europe. We flew to different countries to talk to the business lines and the topic was shared services, like SAP or ERP, and what they could share with subsidiaries in other countries. We were talking about the local business, and by the end of the day we were using ArchiMate and the Archie tool to review and wrap up the meeting. These documents and drawings were very useful to explicitly figure out what exactly this business line needed. Because we had this very formal view of what they needed that was very valuable to be able to compare it with other business lines, and then we were in the position to help them set up the shared services in an international standard view. We definitely used ArchiMate tools, language and the Archie tools. We were talking about strategy and motivation and at the end of the day we shared the ArchiMate view of what they could share, and three months later they are very happy with the deliverables because we were able to provide view across different business units and different countries and we are ready to implement shared services with ERP in different countries and business lines. The method, the language, TOGAF, ArchiMate language—and also Enterprise Architect soft skills—all of these were key differentiators in being able to achieve this job.

What other things are you seeing Enterprise Architects grappling with in Europe?

Obviously Big Data and data analysis is really hyped today. Like the U.S., the first problem is that Europe needs resources and skills to work on these new topics. We are very interested in these topics, but we have to work to better figure out what kind of architecture and reference architectures we can use for that. The Open Platform 3.0™ Forum trends and reference architecture are key to fostering the maturity of the domain.

The second topic is IT4IT—behind IT4IT there is a financial issue for IT people to always deliver more value and save money. If I understand where we are going with IT4IT, we are trying to develop a reference architecture which helps companies to better deliver service with an efficient cost rationale. This is why we are taking part in IT4IT. When we promote IT4IT at the next French event in June we will talk about IT4IT because it’s an opportunity to review the IT service portfolio and the way to deliver it in an effective way.

It’s not so easy with us with security because today it’s a local issue. What I mean by local issue is, in every country in Europe and especially in France, cybersecurity and data privacy are on the government agenda. It’s a sovereignty issue, and they are cautious about local solutions. France, and especially the government, is working on that. There are works at the European level to set up policies for European data privacy and for cyber criminality. To be honest, Europe is not 100 percent confident with security issues if we’re talking about Facebook and Google. It’s not easy to propose an international framework to fix security issues. For example, Arismore is working with EA and security. EA is easy to promote – most of the major French companies are aware of TOGAF and are using EA and TOGAF even more, but not security because we have ISO 27001 and people are not very confident with U.S.-based security solutions.

 

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Agile Enterprise Architecture – A Good to Great Evolution

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions

I have been an Agile Practitioner for years now, have been in many successful Agile executed projects. But as an Enterprise Architect I am somewhat skeptical about the fact how the eXtereme Programming and other Agile methodologies dismiss the value of analysis and design.

In this write-up I will try to blend in the flavors of Agile along with Enterprise Architecture to bring in the concept of Agile Architecture.

Enterprise Architecture is good, but when we make it agile t0 embraces change, it is great. Let’s see how we can embark on the Good to Great journey of making an Enterprise Architecture and Agile Enterprise Architecture.

Emerging and Intentional Architecture

SCRUM and XP have seen broadest adoptions in the enterprises. These methodologies are based on the assumptions that the architecture emerges out of the iterations of delivery of value driven user stories and continuous refactoring, this is what we call Emerging Architecture. What if we have to scale this to the enterprise, will it stand up to the test of scalability, here comes in the Intentional Architecture.

Intentional Architecture is a practice which is designed to produce robust architectures in an Agile fashion. The objectives of Intentional Architecture are as follows:

  1. Build Application Architecture vision
  2. Alignment of Application Architecture with Enterprise Architecture vision
  3. Leverage Architecture patterns, implementation strategies and best practices – Build robust Architecture Principles
  4. Sponsor innovation and continuous Improvement

Agile Architecture – Looking beyond the current Sprint

With the foundation laid for an intentional architecture, we will now look to see if we can make the enterprise architecture Agile.

Characteristics of an Agile Architecture

  1. Intentional Architecture, rather than an emerging architecture
  2. Integration points to facilitate Agile Development rather than hindering the same
  3. Embrace change without over building

This does not happen by accident but by design.

By The Open Group

 The Agile Enterprise Architecture

Role of an Agile Architect

There are substantial benefits when we effectively apply the intentional architecture, provided the iteration is not slowed down. An Agile Architect is a role in an agile team who provides inputs and technical direction based on the Architecture vision to the enterprise and ensures that the design and architecture of an individual application is in conformance with enterprise architecture vision.

Let’s see how an Agile Developer and Agile Architect embrace change?

Agile Developer Agile Enterprise Architect
Works to satisfy the customer and business Balances needs of all stakeholders and knows when to say “no”
Embraces change quickly assuming change is inevitable Plans for change, embraces it, by understanding it and through a flexible design
Follows “YAGNI” principle of XP Follows “Separations of concerns”, plans and designs for scalability and reliability in conformance with Enterprise Standards
Uses quick   solutions to solve problems Implement Long tern solutions to reduce technical risk / debt and improve maintainability

Evolution Strategies – Good to GreatBy The Open GroupBuild strong foundations: Agility depends on strong foundations; we can never be agile, if we keep spending time in fixing the core or Architectural building blocks.

Establish Implementation strategy: Implementation strategy to be aligned to the Architecture vision and communicated to the Agile team to ensure alignment to the vision.

Adopt a layered structure:   Layer data as well as the software. We need to separate out things with specific purpose or which changes with different rates than others. Separate the core from the business rules, loosely couple components and apply abstraction for growth and scalability.

Practice change continually: Being Great at anything requires practice. Agile teams needs to use tools and techniques which support constant change e.g. Continuous Integration, testing and refactoring

Bottom line “Think long term and act short term “. Understand the agility the business needs, understand what helps you to align to the Enterprise Architecture Vision and choose design wisely!

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global SolutionsPriya Patra is Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions. She has extensive experience in managing and executing product / framework development and Technology CoE projects. She is a Certified Scrum Master, a certified TOGAF® practitioner and a member of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

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Filed under agile, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, the open group

The Open Group Madrid 2015 – Day One Highlights

By The Open Group

On Monday, April 20, Allen Brown, President & CEO of The Open Group, welcomed 150 attendees to the Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ summit held at the Madrid Eurobuilding Hotel.  Following are highlights from the plenary:

The Digital Transformation of the Public Administration of Spain – Domingo Javier Molina Moscoso

Domingo Molina, the first Spanish national CIO, said that governments must transform digitally to meet public expectations, stay nationally competitive, and control costs – the common theme in transformation of doing more with less. Their CORA commission studied what commercial businesses did, and saw the need for an ICT platform as part of the reform, along with coordination and centralization of ICT decision making across agencies.

Three Projects:

  • Telecom consolidation – €125M savings, reduction in infrastructure and vendors
  • Reduction in number of data centers
  • Standardizing and strengething security platform for central administration – only possible because of consolidation of telecom.

The Future: Increasing use of mobile, social networks, online commercial services such as banking – these are the expectations of young people. The administration must therefore be in the forefront of providing digital services to citizens. They have set a transformation target of having citizens being able to interact digitally with all government services by 2020.

Q&A:

  • Any use of formal methods for transformation such as EA? Looked at other countries – seen models such as outsourcing. They are taking a combined approach of reusing their experts and externalizing.
  • How difficult has it been to achieve savings in Europe given labor laws? Model is to re-assign people to higher-value tasks.
  • How do you measure progress: Each unit has own ERP for IT governance – no unified reporting. CIO requests and consolidates data. Working on common IT tool to do this.

An Enterprise Transformation Approach for Today’s Digital Business – Fernando García Velasco

Computing has moved from tabulating systems to the internet and moving into an era of “third platform” of Cloud, Analytics, Mobile and Social (CAMS) and cognitive computing. The creates a “perfect storm” for disruption of enterprise IT delivery.

  • 58% say SMAC will reduce barriers to entry
  • 69% say it will increase competition
  • 41% expect this competition to come from outside traditional market players

These trends are being collected and consolidated in The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ standard.

He sees the transformation happening in three ways:

  1. Top-down – a transformation view
  2. Meet in the middle: Achieving innovation through EA
  3. Bottom-up: the normal drive for incremental improvement

Gartner: EA is the discipline for leading enterprise response to disruptive forces. IDC: EA is mandatory for managing transformation to third platform.

EA Challenges & Evolution – a Younger Perspective

Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), noted the AEA is leading the development of EA as a profession, and is holding the session to recognize the younger voices joining the EA profession. He introduced the panelists: Juan Abal, Itziar Leguinazabal, Mario Gómez Velasco, Daniel Aguado Pérez, Ignacio Macias Jareño.

The panelists talked about their journey as EAs, noting that their training focused on development with little exposure to EA or Computer Science concepts. Schools aren’t currently very interested in teaching EA, so it is hard to get a start. Steve Nunn noted the question of how to enter EA as a profession is a worldwide concern. The panelists said they started looking at EA as a way of gaining a wider perspective of the development or administrative projects they were working on. Mentoring is important, and there is a challenge in learning about the business side when coming from a technical world. Juan Abal said such guidance and mentoring by senior architects is one of the benefits the AEA chapter offers.

Q: What advice would you give to someone entering into the EA career? A: If you are starting from a CS or engineering perspective, you need to start learning about the business. Gain a deep knowledge of your industry. Expect a lot of hard work, but it will have the reward of having more impact on decisions. Q: EA is really about business and strategy. Does the AEA have a strategy for making the market aware of this? A: The Spanish AEA chapter focuses on communicating that EA is a mix, and that EAs need to develop business skills. It is a concern that young architects are focused on IT aspects of EA, and how they can be shown the path to understand the business side.

Q: Should EA be part of the IT program or the CS program in schools? A: We have seen around the world a history of architects coming from IT and that only a few universities have specific IT programs. Some offer it at the postgraduate level. The EA is trying globally to raise awareness of the need for EA education. continuing education as part of a career development path is a good way to manage the breadth of skills a good EA needs; organizations should also be aware of the levels of The Open Group Open CA certifications.

Q: If EA is connected to business, should EAs be specialized to the vertical sector, or should EA be business agnostic? A: Core EA skills are industry-agnostic, and these need to be supplemented by industry-specific reference models. Methodology, Industry knowledge and interpersonal skills are all critical, and these are developed over time.

Q: Do you use EA tools in your job? A: Not really – the experience to use complex tools comes over time.

Q: Are telecom companies adopting EA? A: Telecom companies are adopting standard reference architectures. This sector has not made much progress in EA, though it is critical for transformation in the current market. Time pressure in a changing market is also a barrier.

Q: Is EA being grown in-house or outsourced? A: We are seeing increased uptake among end-user companies in using EA to achieve transformation – this is happening across sectors and is a big opportunity in Spain right now.

Join the conversation! @theopengroup #ogMAD

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture, Internet of Things, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Standards, Uncategorized

The Open Group Madrid Summit 2015 – An Interview with Steve Nunn

By The Open Group

The Open Group will be hosting its Spring 2015 summit in Madrid from April 20-23. Focused on Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™, the summit will explore the increasing digitalization of business today and how Enterprise Architecture will be a critical factor in helping organizations to adapt to the changes that digitalization and rapidly evolving technologies are bringing.

In advance of the summit, we spoke to Steve Nunn, Vice President and COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) about two speaking tracks he will be participating in at the event—a panel on the challenges facing young Enterprise Architects today, and a session addressing the need for Enterprise Architects to consider their personal brand when it comes to their career path.

Tell us about the panel you’ll be moderating at the Madrid Summit on EA Challenges.

The idea for the panel really came from the last meeting we had in San Diego. We had a panel of experienced Enterprise Architects, including John Zachman, giving their perspectives on the state of Enterprise Architecture and answering questions from the audience. It gave us the idea that, we’ve heard from the experienced architects, what if we also heard from younger folks in the industry, maybe those newer to the profession than the previous panel? We decided to put together a panel of young architects, ideally local to Madrid, to get what we hope will be a different set of perspectives on what they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and what they see as the challenges for the profession, what’s working well and what’s working less well. In conjunction with the local Madrid chapter of the AEA, we put the panel together. I believe it’s a panel of four young architects, plus a gentleman named Juan Abel, who is the chair of the local chapter in Madrid, who helped put it together, with me moderating. The Madrid chapter of the AEA has been very helpful in putting together the summit in Madrid and with details on the ground, and we thank them for all their help.

We’ll be putting some questions together ahead of time, and there will be questions from the audience. We hope it will be a different set of perspectives from folks entering the profession and in a different geography as well, so there may be some things that are particular to practicing Enterprise Architecture in Spain which come out as well. It’s a long panel—over an hour—so, hopefully, we’ll be able to not just hit things at a cursory level, but get into more detail.

What are some of the challenges that younger Enterprise Architects are facing these days?

We’re hoping to learn what the challenges are for those individuals, and we’re also hoping to hear what they think is attracting people to the profession. That’s a part that I’m particularly interested in. In terms of what I think going in to the panel session, the thing I hear about the most from young architects in the profession is about the career path. What is the career path for Enterprise Architects? How do I get in? How do I justify the practice of Enterprise Architecture in my organization if it doesn’t exist already? And if it does exist, how do I get to be part of it?

In the case of those individuals coming out of university—what are the relevant qualifications and certifications that they might be looking at to give themselves the best shot at a career in Enterprise Architecture. I expect it will be a lot of discussion about getting into Enterprise Architecture and how do you best position yourself and equip yourself to be an Enterprise Architect.

Were there things that came out of the San Diego session that will be relevant to the Madrid panel?

There were certainly some things discussed about frameworks and the use of frameworks in Enterprise Architecture. Being an Open Group event, obviously a lot of it was around TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, and with John Zachman as part of it, naturally the Zachman Framework too. There was some discussion about looking into how the two can play more naturally together. There was less discussion about the career development aspect, by and large because, when these people started out in their careers, they weren’t Enterprise Architects because it wasn’t called that. They got into it along the way, rather than starting out with a goal to be an Enterprise Architect, so there wasn’t as much about the career aspect, but I do think that will be a big part of what will come out in Madrid.

I think where there are overlaps is the area around the value proposition for Enterprise Architecture inside an organization. That’s something that experienced architects and less experienced architects will face on a day-to-day basis in an organization that hasn’t yet bought into an Enterprise Architecture approach. The common theme is, how do you justify taking Enterprise Architecture inside an organization in a way that delivers value quick enough for people to see that something is happening? So that it’s not just a multi-year project that will eventually produce something that’s nicely tied up in a bow that may or may not do what they wanted because, chances are, the business need has moved on in that time anyway. It’s being able to show that Enterprise Architecture can deliver things in the short term as well as the long term. I think that’s something that’s common to architects at all stages of their careers.

You’re also doing a session on creating a personal brand in Madrid. Why is branding important for Enterprise Architects these days?

I have to say, it’s a lot of fun doing that presentation. It really is. Why is it important? I think at a time, not just for Enterprise Architects but for any of us, when our identities are out there so much now in social media—whatever it may be, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media profiles— people get a perception of you, many times never having met you. It is important to control that perception. If you don’t do it, someone else may get a perception that you may or may not want from it. It’s really the idea of taking charge of your own brand and image and how you are perceived, what values you have, what you want to be known for, the type of organization you want to work in, the types of projects that you want to be involved in. Not all of those things happen at once, they don’t all land on a plate, but by taking more control of it in a planned way, there’s more chance of you realizing some of those goals than if you don’t. That’s really the essence of it.

The timing and particular relevance to Enterprise Architects is that, more and more, as organizations do see value in Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architects are getting a seat at the top table. They’re being listened to by senior management, and are sometimes playing an active role in strategy and important decisions being made in organizations. So, now more than ever, how Enterprise Architects are being perceived is important. They need to be seen to be the people that can bring together the business people and IT, who have the soft skills, being able to talk to and understand enough about different aspects of the business to get their job done. They don’t have to be experts in everything, of course, but they have to have a good enough understanding to have meaningful discussions with the people with whom they’re working. That’s why it’s crucial at this time that those who are Enterprise Architects, as we build the profession, are perceived in a positive way, and the value of that is highlighted and consistently delivered.

A lot of technologists don’t always feel comfortable with overtly marketing themselves—how do you help them get over the perception that having a personal brand is just “marketing speak?”

That’s something that we go through in the presentation. There are 11 steps that we recommend following. This goes back to an old Tom Peters article that was written years ago titled ‘The Brand Called You’ . Many of us aren’t comfortable doing this and it’s hard, but it is important to force yourself to go through this so your name and your work and what you stand for are what you want them to be.

Some of the suggestions are to think of the things that you’re good at and what your strengths are, and to test those out with people that you know and trust. You can have some fun with it along the way. Think about what those strengths are, and think about what it is that you offer that differentiates you.

A big part of the personal brand concept is to help individuals differentiate themselves from everyone else in the workplace, and that’s a message that seems to resonate very well. How do you stand out from lots of other people that claim to have the same skills and similar experience to yourself? Think of what those strengths are, pick a few things that you want to be known for. Maybe it’s that you never miss a deadline, you’re great at summarizing meetings or you’re a great facilitator—I’m not suggesting you focus on one—but what combination of things do you want to be known for? Once you know what that is—one of the examples I use is, if you want to be known for being punctual, which is an important thing, make sure you are—set the alarm earlier, make sure you show up for meetings on time, then that’s one of the things you’re known for. All these things help build the personal brand, and when people think of you, they think of how they can rely on you, and think of the attributes and experience that they can get from working with you.

That’s really what it comes down to—as human beings, we all prefer to work with people we can trust. Ideally people that we like, but certainly people that we can trust and rely on. You’re far more likely to get the right doors opening for you and more widely if you’ve built a brand that you maintain, and people you work with know what you stand for and know they can rely on you. It’s going to work in your favor and help you get the opportunities that you hope for in your career.

But there’s a big fun aspect to the presentation, as well. I start the presentation looking at branding and the types of brands that people know what they stand for. I think it has scope for workshop-type sessions, as well, where people follow some of the steps and start developing their personal brands. Feedback on this presentation has been very positive because it stands out as a non-technical presentation, and people can see that they can use it privately to further their careers, or to use it with their teams within their organizations. People really seem to resonate with it.

As CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects, what are you seeing in terms of career opportunities available for architects right now?

We are seeing a lot of demand for Enterprise Architects all over the place, not just in the U.S., but globally. One of the things we have on the AEA website is a job board and career center, and we’ve been trying to increase the number of jobs posted there and make it a useful place for our members to go when they’re considering another position, and a good place for recruiters to promote their openings. We are growing that and it’s being populated more and more. Generally, I hear that there is a lot of demand for Enterprise Architects, and the demand outweighs the supply at the moment. It’s a good time to get into the profession. It’s a good time to be making the most of the demand that’s out there in the market right now. To back that up, the latest Foote Report showed that the OpenCA and TOGAF certifications were among the most valuable certifications in the IT industry. I think there is demand for certified architects and what we’re doing in the AEA is building the professional body to the point, ultimately, where people not only want to be AEA members, but effectively need to be AEA members in order to be taken seriously in Enterprise Architecture.

We’re also seeing an increasing number of inquiries from organizations that are recruiting Enterprise Architects to check that the applicant is indeed an AEA member. So clearly that tells us that people are putting it down on their resumes as something that differentiates them. It’s good that we get these inquiries, because it shows that there is perceived value in membership.

What’s new with the AEA? What’s happening within the organization right now?

Other things we have going on are a couple of webinar series running in parallel. One is a series of 13 webinars led by Jason Uppal of QRS Systems. He’s giving one a month for 13 months—we’ve done seven or eight already. The other is a series of 10 webinars given by Chris Armstrong of the Armstrong Process Group. What they have in common is that they are tutorials, they’re educational webinars and learning opportunities, and we’re seeing the number of attendees for those increasing. It’s a value of being an AEA member to be able to participate in these webinars. Our focus is on giving more value to the members, and those are a couple of examples of how we’re doing that.

The other thing that we have introduced is a series of blogs on ‘What Enterprise Architects Need to Know About…’ We’ve covered a couple of topics like Internet of Things and Big Data—we have more planned in that series. That’s an attempt to get people thinking about the changing environment in which we’re all operating now and the technologies coming down the pike at us, and what it means for Enterprise Architects. It’s not that architects have to be an expert in everything, but they do need to know about them because they will eventually change how organizations put together their architectures.

By The Open GroupSteve Nunn is the VP and Chief Operating Officer of The Open Group. Steve’s primary responsibility for The Open Group is to ensure the legal protection of its assets, particularly its intellectual property. This involves the development, maintenance and policing of the trademark portfolio of The Open Group, including the registered trade marks behind the Open Brand and, therefore, the various Open Group certification programs, including TOGAF®, Open CA, Open CITS, and UNIX® system certification. The licensing, protection and promotion of TOGAF also falls within his remit.

In addition, Steve is CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) and is focused on creating and developing the definitive professional association for enterprise architects around the globe. To achieve this, Steve is dedicated to advancing professional excellence amongst AEA’s 20,000+ members, whilst raising the status of the profession as a whole.

Steve is a lawyer by training and has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practising certificate.

Join the conversation @theopengroup #ogchat #ogMAD

 

 

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Brand Marketing, Enterprise Architecture, Internet of Things, Open CA, Standards, TOGAF, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Open Group Johannesburg 2015 – Conference Highlights

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, The Open Group South Africa

A packed agenda drew over 125 delegates to  The Open Group Johannesburg Conference on 17 March 2015, the seventh to be hosted by The Open Group South Africa. The theme this year was “The State of Enterprise Architecture Globally” which explored the transformative benefits of EA and how to reach the ultimate state of “business-focused, sustainable EA” through a series of presentations, discussions and an exhibition.

Conference exhibitors Avolution, Troux and BIC Platform showcased their Enterprise Architecture tools at the event. Avolution gave delegates a preview of the new release of the flagship toolset ABACUS 4.4.

It’s not hard to see why Enterprise Architecture is capturing the attention of business and technology professionals. Keynote speaker and The Open Group President & CEO Allen Brown pointed out that vehicle manufacturer Nissan attributes more than $1-billion in savings to Enterprise Architecture over a 10 year period.

Brown drew attention to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, which enables the breakdown of barriers to create a cross-functional organisation. He also noted that Enterprise Architecture is not a technologically-driven conversation; instead, it must be aligned with the customer journey. “The organisation needs to learn more about people so as not to segment, since people are not ‘one size fits all’; business architecture, as a component of Enterprise Architecture, helps with understanding the customer journey,” he said.

Brown noted growth in successful implementations of EA around the world, including the remarkable case of Nissan. The carmaker faced challenges familiar to many technology professionals in large enterprises: multiple demands to align IT with business, the necessity to document rapidly changing information, and standardise processes. Nissan applied EA to create a comprehensive, readily accessible view of its technology environment.

Closer to home, Brown said Sasol is a local case study which shows the capabilities which flow from an EA implementation. It’s not only corporations that benefit; skilled individuals are making their mark, too. “Enterprise Architects are in high demand around the world and it’s one of the highest paid skills,” he added.

In addition to Brown’s keynote address, presentations by Paul van der Merwe, Enterprise Architect, Nedbank and Vusi Mdlalose, head of Reference Architecture and Tooling for the Barclays Africa Group, provided direct insights into how South African companies are harnessing the power of EA – and the TOGAF® and ArchiMate® standards (both Open Group standards) – to achieve predictable outcomes from complex technology environments.

“The Enterprise Architecture team played an instrumental role in defining this transformational journey for the bank through their adoption of TOGAF as the EA method,” noted van der Merwe, “This journey was defined by applying a capability-based approach to understanding the business requirements and priorities, a layered model for organising technology solutions and a managed evolution rollout strategy.”

Vusi Mdlalose’s talk gave insight into how ArchiMate informed the building and implementation of their meta model, and how they then built their architecture reference models and underlying architectures.

And, taking delegates outside of technology to consider the psychology of change, Real IRM’s Joanne Macgregor, Specialist Consultant and Trainer, presented on the necessity for effective change management as an integral part of EA implementations. Her aptly named presentation title, “You can lead a horse to water…” explored how many EA implementations do not succeed in realising their full potential due to a failure in managing the “fuzzy” human aspects of organisational transformation.

James Thomas, Lead Enterprise Architect at the South African Reserve Bank, took a different approach in his presentation titled, “The state of Enterprise Architecture globally”.

Thomas noted that the EA discipline is growing globally, but that there are business and IT stakeholders with concerns, misconceptions and downright scepticism – and set about dispelling the unknown. Fortunately his final conclusion stated “Long live Enterprise Architects!”

Lunch was followed by three tracks which focused on EA Frameworks, Practical TOGAF® and Realising EA Value. The topics and speakers included:

  • Frameworks of the IBM Systems Journal by Adriaan Vorster, Industry Consultant, Gijima
  • Successfully doing TOGAF in a Scrum Project; Marvin Williams, Associate Director Architect, Cognizant Technology USA
  • Less is more: putting EA at the heart of top-level decision-making; Jerome Bugnet, Senior Solution Director, Troux Technologies UK
  • Enterprise Security Architecture at Eskom – TOGAF and SABSA; Maganathin Veeraragaloo, Chief Advisor Information Security, Eskom
  • Enterprise Architecture as a core capability in successful transformation programmes; Roar Engen, Partner and Chief Enterprise Architect, Primesource EA Norway

The afternoon plenary included a presentation by Louw Labuschagne, Managing Partner, CS Interactive, who gave an overview of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and showed how the adoption of this framework is impacting the definition of Enterprise Architecture (EA) skills.

The Open Group Johannesburg 2015 was declared a resounding success. “Not only have delegates enjoyed executive insights directly from The Open Group, they have also seen how leading South African companies are applying EA principles to take charge of complex technology environments. And, of course, an event like this also presents an unmatched opportunity for global networking in a specialist field which is growing rapidly.”

In the closing presentation, Brown urged the delegates to view and download the publications from The Open Group for further insight and knowledge and more importantly to talk to the people who are doing EA. (Whether it’s IT4IT™, TOGAF or ArchiMate)

“It’s the networking at events like these that are ten times more valuable than anything else,” concluded Brown.

By Stuart Macgregor, The Open GroupStuart Macgregor, CEO of The Open Group South Africa, is also the Chief Executive of the South African company, Real IRM Solutions. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF® . This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group.

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Enabling the Boundaryless Organization the Goal of The Open Group Madrid Summit 2015

The Open Group, the global vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting its latest event in Madrid April 20 – 23 2015. The event is set to build on the success of previous events and focus on the challenge of building a Boundaryless Organization in the face of a range of new IT trends. As organizations look to take advantage of trends such as the Internet of Things and Open Platform 3.0™, the Madrid event will be an opportunity for peers to present and discuss and how the Boundaryless Organization can be achieved and what methods are best to do so.

Objectives of this year’s conference include:

  • Understanding what role Enterprise Architecture as currently practiced plays in Enterprise Transformation, especially transformations driven by merging and disruptive technologies.
  • Showing the need for Boundaryless Information Flow™, which would result in more interoperable, real-time business processes that span throughout all business ecosystems.
  • Understanding how to develop better interoperability and communication across organizational boundaries and pursue global standards for Enterprise Architecture that are highly relevant to all industries.
  • Showing how organizations can achieve their business objectives by adopting new technologies and processes as part of the Enterprise Transformation management principles – making the whole process more a matter of design than of chance.
  • Examining how the growth of “The Internet of Things” with online currencies and mobile enabled transactions has changed the face of financial services, and poses new threats and opportunities.

Key plenary and track speakers at the event include:

  • Allen Brown, President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Ron Tolido, SVP, Group CTO Office, , Global Insights and Data practice, Capgemini
  • Mariano Arnaiz, CIO, Grupo CESCE
  • Domingo Molina, Director of Information Technology and Communication Management, CNIS

Full details on the event agenda can be found here.

Registration for The Open Group Madrid is open now and available to members and non-members.  Please visit here.

Join the conversation! @theopengroup #ogMAD

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Filed under big data, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture, Internet of Things, Interoperability, Open Platform 3.0, OTTF, Professional Development, RISK Management, Standards, Strategy, TOGAF

Cybersecurity Standards: The Open Group Explores Security and Ways to Assure Safer Supply Chains

Following is a transcript of part of the proceedings from The Open Group San Diego 2015 in February.

The following presentations and panel discussion, which together examine the need and outlook for Cybersecurity standards amid supply chains, are provided by moderator Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technology Officer, The Open Group; Mary Ann Davidson, Chief Security Officer, Oracle; Dr. Ron Ross, Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security for The Open Group.

Here are some excerpts:

By The Open GroupDave Lounsbury: Mary Ann Davidson is responsible for Oracle Software Security Assurance and represents Oracle on the Board of Directors for the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and on the international Board of the ISSA.

Dr. Ron Ross leads the Federal Information Security Management Act Implementation Project. It sounds like a big job to fulfill, developing the security standards and guidelines for the federal government.

This session is going to look at the cybersecurity and supply chain landscape from a standards perspective. So Ron and Mary Ann, thank you very much.

By The Open GroupRon Ross: All of us are part of the technology explosion and revolution that we have been experiencing for the last couple of decades.

I would like to have you leave today with a couple of major points, at least from my presentation, things that we have observed in cybersecurity for the last 25 years: where we are today and where I think we might need to go in the future. There is no right or wrong answer to this problem of cybersecurity. It’s probably one of the most difficult and challenging sets of problems we could ever experience.

In our great country, we work on what I call the essential partnership. It’s a combination of government, industry, and academia all working together. We have the greatest technology producers, not just in this country, but around the world, who are producing some fantastic things to which we are all “addicted.” I think we have an addiction to the technology.

Some of the problems we’re going to experience going forward in cybersecurity aren’t just going to be technology problems. They’re going to be cultural problems and organizational problems. The key issue is how we organize ourselves, what our risk tolerance is, how we are going to be able to accomplish all of our critical missions and business operations that Dawn talked about this morning, and do so in a world that’s fairly dangerous. We have to protect ourselves.

Movie App

I think I can sum it up. I was at a movie. I don’t go to movies very often anymore, but about a month ago, I went to a movie. I was sitting there waiting for the main movie to start, and they were going through all the coming attractions. Then they came on the PA and they said that there is an app you can download. I’m not sure you have ever seen this before, but it tells you for that particular movie when is the optimal time to go to the restroom during the movie.

I bring this up because that’s a metaphor for where we are today. We are consumed. There are great companies out there, producing great technologies. We’re buying it up faster than you can shake a stick at it, and we are developing the most complicated IT infrastructure ever.

So when I look at this problem, I look at this from a scientist’s point of view, an engineering point of view. I’m saying to myself, knowing what I know about what it takes  to — I don’t even use the word “secure” anymore, because I don’t think we can ever get there with the current complexity — build the most secure systems we can and be able to manage risk in the world that we live in.

In the Army, we used to have a saying. You go to war with the army that you have, not the army that you want. We’ve heard about all the technology advances, and we’re going to be buying stuff, commercial stuff, and we’re going to have to put it together into systems. Whether it’s the Internet of Things (IoT) or cyber-physical convergence, it all goes back to some fairly simple things.

The IoT and all this stuff that we’re talking about today really gets back to computers. That’s the common denominator. They’re everywhere. This morning, we talked about your automobile having more compute power than Apollo 11. In your toaster, your refrigerator, your building, the control of the temperature, industrial control systems in power plants, manufacturing plants, financial institutions, the common denominator is the computer, driven by firmware and software.

When you look at the complexity of the things that we’re building today, we’ve gone past the time when we can actually understand what we have and how to secure it.

That’s one of the things that we’re going to do at NIST this year and beyond. We’ve been working in the FISMA world forever it seems, and we have a whole set of standards, and that’s the theme of today: how can standards help you build a more secure enterprise?

The answer is that we have tons of standards out there and we have lots of stuff, whether it’s on the federal side with 853 or the Risk Management Framework, or all the great things that are going on in the standards world, with The Open Group, or ISO, pick your favorite standard.

The real question is how we use those standards effectively to change the current outlook and what we are experiencing today because of this complexity? The adversary has a significant advantage in this world, because of complexity. They really can pick the time, the place, and the type of attack, because the attack surface is so large when you talk about not just the individual products.

We have many great companies just in this country and around the world that are doing a lot to make those products more secure. But then they get into the engineering process and put them together in a system, and that really is an unsolved problem. We call it a Composability Problem. I can have a trusted product here and one here, but what is the combination of those two when you put them together in the systems context? We haven’t solved that problem yet, and it’s getting more complicated everyday.

Continuous Monitoring

For the hard problems, we in the federal government do a lot of stuff in continuous monitoring. We’re going around counting our boxes and we are patching stuff and we are configuring our components. That’s loosely called cyber hygiene. It’s very important to be able to do all that and do it quickly and efficiently to make your systems as secure as they need to be.

But even the security controls in our control catalog, 853, when you get into the technical controls —  I’m talking about access control mechanisms, identification, authentication, encryption, and audit — those things are buried in the hardware, the software, the firmware, and the applications.

Most of our federal customers can’t even see those. So when I ask them if they have all their access controls in place, they can nod their head yes, but they can’t really prove that in a meaningful way.

So we have to rely on industry to make sure those mechanisms, those functions, are employed within the component products that we then will put together using some engineering process.

This is the below-the-waterline problem I talk about. We’re in some kind of digital denial today, because below the water line, most consumers are looking at their smartphones, their tablets, and all their apps — that’s why I used that movie example — and they’re not really thinking about those vulnerabilities, because they can’t see them, until it affects them personally.

I had to get three new credit cards last year. I shop at Home Depot and Target, and JPMorgan Chase is our federal credit card. That’s not a pain point for me because I’m indemnified. Even if there are fraudulent charges, I don’t get hit for those.

If your identity is stolen, that’s a personal pain point. We haven’t reached that national pain point yet. All of the security stuff that we do we talk about it a lot and we do a lot of it, but if you really want to effect change, you’re going to start to hear more at this conference about assurance, trustworthiness, and resiliency. That’s the world that we want to build and we are not there today.

That’s the essence of where I am hoping we are going to go. It’s these three areas: software assurance, systems security engineering, and supply-chain risk management.

My colleague Jon Boyens is here today and he is the author, along with a very talented team of coauthors, of the NIST 800-161 document. That’s the supply chain risk document.

It’s going to work hand-in-hand with another publication that we’re still working on, the 800-160 document. We are taking an IEEE and an ISO standard, 15288, and we’re trying to infuse into that standard. They are coming out with the update of that standard this year. We’re trying to infuse security into every step of the lifecycle.

Wrong Reasons

The reason why we are not having a lot of success on the cybersecurity front today is because security ends up appearing either too late or by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

I’ll give you one example. In the federal government, we have a huge catalog of security controls, and they are allocated into different baselines: low, moderate, and high. So you will pick a baseline, you will tailor, and you’ll come to the system owner or the authorizing official and say, “These are all the controls that NIST says we have to do.” Well, the mission business owner was never involved in that discussion.

One of the things we are going to do with the new document is focus on the software and systems engineering process from the start of the stakeholders, all the way through requirements, analysis, definition, design, development, implementation, operation, and sustainment, all the way to disposal. Critical things are going to happen at every one of those places in the lifecycle

The beauty of that process is that you involve the stakeholders early. So when those security controls are actually selected they can be traced back to a specific security requirement, which is part of a larger set of requirements that support that mission or business operation, and now you have the stakeholders involved in the process.

Up to this point in time, security operates in its own vacuum. It’s in the little office down the hall, and we go down there whenever there’s a problem. But unless and until security gets integrated and we disappear as being our own discipline, we now are part of the Enterprise Architecture, whether it’s TOGAF® or whatever architecture construct you are following, or the systems engineering process. The system development lifecycle is the third one, and people ask what is acquisition and procurement.

Unless we have our stakeholders at those tables to influence, we are going to continue to deploy systems that are largely indefensible not against all cyber attacks but against the high-end attacks.

We have to do a better job getting at the C-Suite and I tried to capture the five essential areas that this discussion has to revolve around. The acronym is TACIT, and it just happens to be a happy coincidence that it fit into an acronym. But it’s basically looking at the threat, how you configure your assets, and how you categorize your assets with regard to criticality.

How complex is the system you’re building? Are you managing that complexity in trying to reduce it, integrating security across the entire set of business practices within the organization? Then, the last component, which really ties into The Open Group, and the things you’re doing here with all the projects that were described in the first session, that is the trustworthiness piece.

Are we building products and systems that are, number one, more penetration resistance to cyber attacks; and number two, since we know we can’t stop all attacks, because we can never reduce complexity to where we thought we could two or three decades ago. Are we building the essential resiliency into that system. Even when the adversary comes to the boundary and the malware starts to work, how far does it spread, and what can it do?

That’s the key question. You try to limit the time on target for the advisory, and that can be done very, very easily with good architectural and good engineering solutions. That’s my message for 2015 and beyond, at least from a lot of things at NIST. We’re going to start focusing on the architecture and the engineering, how to really affect things at the ground level?

Processes are Important

Now we always will have the people, the processes, the technologies kind of this whole ecosystem that we have to deal with, and you’re going to always have to worry about your sys admins that go bad and dump all the stuff that you don’t want dumped on the Internet. But that’s part of system process. Processes are very important because they give us structure, discipline, and the ability to communicate with our partners.

I was talking to Rob Martin from Mitre. He’s working on a lot of important projects there with the CWEs, CVEs. It gives you the ability to communicate a level of trustworthiness and assurance that other people can have that dialogue, because without that, we’re not going to be communicating with each other. We’re not going to trust each other, and that’s critical, having that common understanding. Frameworks provide that common dialogue of security controls in a common process, how we build things, and what is the level of risk that we are willing to accept in that whole process.

These slides, and they’ll be available, go very briefly into the five areas. Understanding the modern threat today is critical because, even if you don’t have access to classified threat data, there’s a lot of great data out there with Symantec and Verizon reports, and there’s open-source threat information available.

If you haven’t had a chance to do that, I know the folks who work on the high assurance stuff in The Open Group RT&ES. look at that stuff a lot, because they’re building a capability that is intended to stop some of those types of threats.

The other thing about assets is that we don’t do a very good job of criticality analysis. In other words, most of our systems are running, processing, storing, and transmitting data and we’re not segregating the critical data into its own domain where necessary.

I know that’s hard to do sometimes. People say, “I’ve got to have all this stuff ready to go 24×7,” but when you look at some of the really bad breaches that we have had over the last several years establishing a domain for critical data, where that domain can be less complex, which means you can better defend it, and then you can invest more resources into defending those things that are the most critical.

I used a very simple example of a safe deposit box. I can’t get all my stuff into the safe deposit box. So I have to make decisions. I put important papers in there, maybe a coin collection, whatever.  I have locks on my house on the front door, but they’re not strong enough to stop some of those bad guys out there. So I make those decisions. I put it in the bank, and it goes in a vault. It’s a pain in the butt to go down there and get the stuff out, but it gives me more assurance, greater trustworthiness. That’s an example of the things we have to be able to do.

Complexity is something that’s going to be very difficult to address because of our penchant for bringing in new technologies. Make no mistake about it, these are great technologies. They are compelling. They are making us more efficient. They are allowing us to do things we never imagined, like finding out the optimal time to go to the restroom during a movie, I mean who could have imagined we could do that a decade ago.

But as with every one of our customers out there, the kinds of things we’re talking about flies below their radar. When you download 100 apps on your smartphone, people in general, even the good folks in Cybersecurity, have no idea where those apps are coming from, where the pedigree is, have they been tested at all, have they been evaluated, are they running on a trusted operating system?

Ultimately, that’s what this business is all about, and that’s what 800-161 is all about. It’s about a lifecycle of the entire stack from applications, to middleware, to operating systems, to firmware, to integrated circuits, to include the supply chain.

The adversary is all over that stack. They now figure out how to compromise our firmware so we have to come up with firmware integrity controls in our control catalog, and that’s the world we live in today.

Managing Complexity

I was smiling this morning when I talked about the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence in building their cloud, if that’s going to go to the public cloud or not. I think Dawn is probably right, you probably won’t see that going to the public cloud anytime soon, but cloud computing gives us an opportunity to manage complexity. You can figure out what you want to send to the public cloud.

They do a good job through the FedRAMP program of deploying controls and they’ve got a business model that’s important to make sure they protect their customers’ assets. So that’s built into their business model and they do a lot of great things out there to try to protect that information.

Then, for whatever stays behind in your enterprise, you can start to employ some of the architectural constructs that you’ll see here at this conference, some of the security engineering constructs that we’re going to talk about in 800-160, and you can better defend what stays behind within your organization.

So cloud is a way to reduce that complexity. Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, all of those architectural things allow you to provide discipline and structure and thinking about what you’re building: how to protect it, how much it’s going to cost and is it worth it? That is the essence of good security. It’s not about running around with a barrel full of security controls or ISO 27000 saying, hey, you’ve got to do all this stuff, or this guy is going to fall, those days are over.

Integration we talked about. This is also hard. We are working with stovepipes today. Enterprise Architects typically don’t talk to security people. Acquisition folks, in most cases, don’t talk to security people.

I see it everyday. You see RFPs go out and there is a whole long list of requirements, and then, when it comes to security, they say the system or the product they are buying must be FISMA compliant. They know that’s a law and they know they have to do that, but they really don’t give the industry or the potential contractors any specificity as to what they need to do to bring that product or the system to the state where it needs to be.

And so it’s all about expectations. I believe our industry, whether it’s here or overseas, wherever these great companies operate, the one thing we can be sure of is that they want to please their customers. So maybe what the message I’m going to send everyday is that we have to be more informed consumers. We have to ask for things that we know we need.

It’s like if you go back with the automobile. When I first started driving a long time ago,  40 years ago, cars just had seatbelts. There were no airbags and no steel-reinforced doors. Then, you could actually buy an airbag as an option at some point. When you fast-forward to today, every car has an airbag, seatbelt, steel-reinforced doors. It comes as part of the basic product. We don’t have to ask for it, but as consumers we know it’s there, and it’s important to us.

We have to start to look at the IT business in the same way, just like when we cross a bridge or fly in an airplane. All of you who flew here in airplanes and came across bridges had confidence in those structures. Why? Because they are built with good scientific and engineering practices.

So least functionality, least privilege, those are kind of foundational concepts in our world and cybersecurity. You really can’t look at a smartphone or a tablet and talk about least functionality anymore, at least if you are running that movie app, and you want to have all of that capability.

The last point about trustworthiness is that we have four decades of best practices in trusted systems development. It failed 30 years ago because we had the vision back then of trusted operating systems, but the technology and the development far outstripped our ability to actually achieve that.

Increasingly Difficult

We talked about a kernel-based operating system having 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 lines of code and being highly trusted. Well, those concepts are still in place. It’s just that now the operating systems are 50 million lines of code, and so it becomes increasingly difficult.

And this is the key thing. As a society, we’re going to have to figure out, going forward, with all this great technology, what kind of world do we want to have for ourselves and our grandchildren? Because with all this technology, as good as it is, if we can’t provide a basis of security and privacy that customers can feel comfortable with, then at some point this party is going to stop.

I don’t know when that time is going to come, but I call it the national pain point in this digital denial. We will come to that steady state. We just haven’t had enough time yet to get to that balance point, but I’m sure we will.

I talked about the essential partnership, but I don’t think we can solve any problem without a collaborative approach, and that’s why I use the essential partnership: government, industry, and academia.

Certainly all of the innovation, or most of the innovation, comes from our great industry. Academia is critical, because the companies like Oracle or Microsoft want to hire students who have been educated in what I call the STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering — whether it’s “double e” or computer science — and Mathematics. They need those folks to be able to build the kind of products that have the capabilities, function-wise, and also are trusted.

And government plays some role — maybe some leadership, maybe a bully pulpit, cheerleading where we can — bringing things together. But the bottom line is that we have to work together, and I believe that we’ll do that. And when that happens I think all of us will be able to sit in that movie and fire up that app about the restroom and feel good that it’s secure.

By The Open GroupMary Ann Davidson: I guess I’m preaching to the converted, if I can use a religious example without offending somebody. One of the questions you asked is, why do we even have standards in this area? And of course some of them are for technical reasons. Crypto it turns out is easy for even very smart people to get wrong. Unfortunately, we have reason to find out.

So there is technical correctness. Another reason would be interoperability to get things to work better in a more secure manner. I’ve worked in this industry long enough to remember the first SSL implementation, woo-hoo, and then it turns out 40 bits wasn’t really 40, bits because it wasn’t random enough, shall we say.

Trustworthiness. ISO has a standard — The Common Criteria. It’s an ISO standard. We talk about what does it mean to have secure software, what type of threats does it address, how do you prove that it does what you say you do? There are standards for that, which helps. It helps everybody. It certainly helps buyers understand a little bit more about what they’re getting.

No Best Practices

And last, but not least, and the reason it’s in quotes, “best practices,” is because there actually are no best practices. Why do I say that — and I am seeing furrowed brows back there? First of all, lawyers don’t like them in contracts, because then if you are not doing the exact thing, you get sued.

There are good practices and there are worst practices. There typically isn’t one thing that everyone can do exactly the same way that’s going to be the best practice. So that’s why that’s in quotation marks.

Generally speaking, I do think standards, particularly in general, can be a force for good in the universe, particularly in cybersecurity, but they are not always a force for good, depending on other factors.

And what is the ecosystem? Well, we have a lot of people. We have standards makers, people who work on them. Some of them are people who review things. Like when NIST is very good, which I appreciate, about putting drafts out and taking comments, as opposed to saying, “Here it is, take it or leave it.” That’s actually a very constructive dialogue, which I believe a lot of people appreciate. I know that I do.

Sometimes there are mandators. You’ll get an RFP that says, “Verily, thou shall comply with this, less thee be an infidel in the security realm.” And that can be positive. It can  be a leading edge of getting people to do something good that, in many cases, they should do anyway.

Implementers, who have to take this and decipher and figure out why they are doing it. People who make sure that you actually did what you said you were going to do.

And last, but not least, there are weaponizers. What do I mean by that? We all know who they are. They are people who will try to develop a standard and then get it mandated. Actually, it isn’t a standard. It’s something they came up with, which might be very good, but it’s handing them regulatory capture.

And we need to be aware of those people. I like the Oracle database. I have to say that, right? There are a lot of other good databases out there. If I went in and said, purely objectively speaking, everybody should standardize on the Oracle database, because it’s the most secure. Well, nice work if I can get it.

Is that in everybody else’s interest? Probably not. You get better products in something that is not a monopoly market. Competition is good.

So I have an MBA, or had one in a prior life, and they used to talk in the marketing class about the three Ps of marketing. Don’t know what they are anymore; it’s been a while. So I thought I would come up with Four Ps of a Benevolent Standard, which are Problem Statement, Precise Language, Pragmatic Solutions, and Prescriptive Minimization.

Economic Analysis

And the reason I say this is one of the kind of discussions I have to have a lot of times, particularly sometimes with people in the government. I’m not saying this in any pejorative way. So please don’t take it that way. It’s the importance of economic analysis, because nobody can do everything.

So being able to say that I can’t boil the ocean, because you are going to boil everything else in it, but I can do these things. If I could do these things, it’s very clear what I am trying to do. It’s very clear what the benefit is. We’ve analyzed it, and it’s probably something everybody can do. Then, we can get to better.

Better is better than omnibus. Omnibus is something everybody gets thrown under if you make something too big. Sorry, I had to say that.

So Problem Statement: why is this important? You would think it’s obvious, Mary Ann, except that it isn’t, because so often the discussions I have with people, tell me what problem you are worried about? What are you trying to accomplish? If you don’t tell me that, then we’re going to be all over the map. You say potato and I say “potahto,” and the chorus of that song is, “let’s call the whole thing off.”

I use supply chain as an example, because this one is all over the map. Bad quality? Well, buying a crappy product is a risk of doing business. It’s not, per se, a supply chain risk. I’m not saying it’s not important, but it it’s certainly not a cyber-specific supply chain risk.

Bad security: well, that’s important, but again, that’s a business risk.

Backdoor bogeyman: this is the popular one. How do I know you didn’t put a backdoor in there? Well, you can’t actually, and that’s not a solvable problem.

Assurance, supply chain shutdown: yeah, I would like to know that a critical parts supplier isn’t going to go out of business. So these are all important, but they are all different problems.

So if you don’t say what you’re worried about, and it can’t be all the above. Almost every business has some supplier of some sort, even if it’s just healthcare. If you’re not careful how you define this, you will be trying to define a 100 percent of any entity’s business operations. And that’s not appropriate.

Use cases are really important, because you may have a Problem Statement. I’ll give you one, and this is not to ding NIST in any way, shape, or form, but I just read this. It’s the Cryptographic Key Management System draft. The only reason I cite this as an example is that I couldn’t actually find a use case in there.

So whatever the merits of that are saying, are you trying to develop a super secret key management system for government, very sensitive cryptographic things you are building from scratch, or you are trying to define a key management system that we have to use for things like TLS or any encryption that any commercial product does, because that’s way out of scope?

So without that, what are you worried about? And also what’s going to happen is somebody is going to cite this in an RFP and it’s going to be, are you compliant with bladdy-blah? And you have no idea whether that even should apply.

Problem Statement

So that Problem Statement is really important, because without that, you can’t have that dialogue in groups like this. Well, what are we trying to accomplish? What are we worried about? What are the worst problems to solve?

Precise Language is also very important. Why? Because it turns out everybody speaks a slightly different language, even if we all speak some dialect of geek, and that is, for example, a vulnerability.

If you say vulnerability to my vulnerability handling team, they think of that as a security vulnerability that’s caused by a defect in software.

But I’ve seen it used to include, well, you didn’t configure the product properly. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not a vulnerability, at least not to a vendor. You implemented a policy incorrectly. It might lead to vulnerability, but it isn’t one. So you are seeing where I am going with this. If you don’t have language to find very crisply the same thing, you read something and you go off and do it and you realize you solved the wrong problem.

I am very fortunate. One of my colleagues from Oracle, who works on our hardware, and I also saw a presentation by people in that group at the Cryptographic Conference in November. They talked about how much trouble we got into because if you say, “module” to a hardware person, it’s a very different thing from what it meant to somebody trying to certify it. This is a huge problem because again you say, potato, I say “potahto.” It’s not the same thing to everybody. So it needs to be very precisely defined.

Scope is also important. I don’t know why. I have to say this a lot and it does get kind of tiresome, I am sure to the recipients, COTS isn’t GOTS. Commercial software is not government software, and it’s actually globally developed. That’s the only way you get commercial software, the feature rich, reads frequently. We have access to global talent.

It’s not designed for all threat environments. It can certainly be better, and I think most people are moving towards better software, most likely because we’re getting beaten up by hackers and then our customers, and it’s good business. But there is no commercial market for high-assurance software or hardware, and that’s really important, because there is only so much that you can do to move the market.

So even a standards developer or big U.S. governments, is an important customer in the market for a lot of people, but they’re not big enough to move the marketplace on their own, and so you are limited by the business dynamic.

So that’s important, you can get to better. I tell people, “Okay, anybody here have a Volkswagen? Okay, is it an MRAP vehicle? No, it’s not, is it? You bought a Volkswagen and you got a Volkswagen. You can’t take a Volkswagen and drive it around streets and expect it to perform like an MRAP vehicle. Even a system integrator, a good one, cannot sprinkle pixie dust over that Volkswagen and turn it into an MRAP vehicle. Those are very different threat environments.

Why you think commercial software and hardware is different? It’s not different. It’s exactly the same thing. You might have a really good Volkswagen, and it’s great for commuting, but it is never going to perform in an IED environment. It wasn’t designed for that, and there is nothing you can do or make it designed to perform in that environment.

Pragmatism

Pragmatism; I really wish anybody working on any standard would do some economic analysis, because economics rules the world. Even if it’s something really good, a really good idea, time, money, and people, particularly qualified security people, are constrained resourses.

So if you make people do something that looks good on paper, but it’s really time-consuming, it’s an opportunity, the cost is too high. That means what is the value of something you could do with those resources that would either cost less or deliver higher benefit. And if you don’t do that analysis, then you have people say, “Hey, that’s a great idea. Wow, that’s great too. I’d like that.” It’s like asking your kid, “Do you want candy. Do want new toys? Do want more footballs?” Instead of saying, “Hey, you have 50 bucks, what you are going to do with it?”

And then there are unintended consequences, because if you make this too complex, you just have fewer suppliers. People will never say, “I’m just not going to bid because it’s impossible.” I’m going to give you three examples and again I’m trying to be respectful here. This is not to dis anybody who worked on these. In some cases, these things have been subsequent revisions that have been modified, which I really appreciate. But there are examples of, when you think about it, what were you asking for in the first place.

I think this was an early version of NISTR 7622 and has since been excised. There was a requirement that the purchaser wanted to be notified of personnel changes involving maintenance. Okay, what does that mean?

I know what I think they wanted, which is, if you are outsourcing the human resources for the Defense Department and you move the whole thing to “Hackistan,” obviously they would want to be notified. I got that, but that’s not what it said.

So I look at that and say, we have 5,000 products, at least, at Oracle. We have billions and billions of lines of code everyday. Somebody checks out a transaction, getting some code, and they do some work on it and they didn’t write it in the first place.

So am I going to tweet all that to somebody. What’s that going to do for you? Plus you have things like the German Workers Council. We are going to tell the US Government that Jurgen worked on this line of code. Oh no, that’s not going to happen.

So what was it you were worried about, because that is not sustainable, tweeting people 10,000 times a day with code changes is just going to consume a lot of resource.

In another one, had this in an early version of something they were trying to do. They wanted to know, for each phase of development for each project, how many foreigners worked on it? What’s a foreigner? Is it a Green Card holder? Is it someone who has a dual passport? What is that going to do for you?

Now again if you had a super custom code for some intelligence, I can understand there might be cases in which that would matter. But general-purpose software is not one of them. As I said, I can give you that information. We’re a big company and we’ve got lots of resource. A smaller company probably can’t. Again, what will I do for you, because I am taking resources I could be using on something much more valuable and putting them on something really silly.

Last, but not least, and again, with respect, I think I know why this was in there. It might have been the secure engineering draft standard that you came up with that has many good parts to it.

Root Cause Analysis

I think vendors will probably understand this pretty quickly. Root Cause Analysis. If you have a vulnerability, one of the first things you should use is Root Cause Analysis. If you’re a vendor and you have a CVSS 10 Security vulnerability in a product that’s being exploited, what do you think the first thing you are going to do is?

Get a patch in your customers’ hands or work around? Yeah, probably, that’s probably the number one priority. Also, Root Cause Analysis, particularly for really nasty security bugs, is really important. CVSS 0, who cares? But for 9 or 10, you should be doing that common analysis.

I’ve got a better one. We have a technology we have called Java. Maybe you’ve heard of it. We put a lot of work into fixing Java. One of the things we did is not only Root Cause Analysis, for CVSS 9 and higher. They have to go in front of my boss. Every Java developer had to sit through that briefing. How did this happen?

Last but not least, looking for other similar instances, not just root cause, how did that get in there and how do we avoid it. Where else does this problem exist. I am not saying this to make us look good; I ‘m saying for the analytics. What are you really trying to solve here. Root Cause Analysis is important, but it’s important in context. If I have to do it for everything, it’s probably not the best use of a scarce resource.

My last point is to minimize prescriptiveness within limits. For example, probably some people in here don’t know how to bake or maybe you made a pie. There is no one right way to bake a cherry pie. Some people go down to Ralphs and they get a frozen Marie Callendar’s out of the freezer, they stick it in the oven, and they’ve got a pretty good cherry pie.

Some people make everything from scratch. Some people use a prepared pie crust and they do something special with the cherries they picked off their tree, but there is no one way to do that that is going to work for everybody.

Best practice for something. For example, I can say truthfully that a best development practice would not be just start coding, number one; and number two, it compiles without too many errors on the base platform, and ship it. That is not good development practice.

If you mandate too much, it will stifle innovation and it won’t work for people. Plus, as I mentioned, you will have an opportunity cost. If I’m doing something that somebody says I have to do, but there is a more innovative way of doing that.

We don’t have a single development methodology in Oracle, mostly because of acquisitions. We buy a great company, we don’t tell them, “You know, that agile thing you are doing, it’s the last year. You have to do waterfall.” That’s not going to work very well, but there are good practices even within those different methodologies.

Allowing for different hows is really important. Static analysis is one of them. I think static analysis is kind of industry practice now, and people should be doing it. Third party is really bad. I have been opining about this, this morning.

Third-party Analysis

Let just say, I have a large customer, I won’t name who used a third-party static analysis service. They broke their license agreement with us. They’re getting a lot of it from us. Worse, they give us a report that included vulnerabilities from one of our competitors. I don’t want to know about those, right? I can’t fix some. I did tell my competitor, “You should know this report exist, because I’m sure you want to analyze this.”

Here’s the worst part. How many of those vulnerabilities the third-party found you think had any merit? Run tool is nothing; analyzing results is everything. That customer and the vendor wasted the time of one of our best security leads, trying to make sure there was no there there, and there wasn’t.

So again, and last but not least, government can use their purchasing power in lot of very good ways, but realize that regulatory things are probably going to lag actual practice. You could be specifying buggy whip standards and the reality is that nobody uses buggy whips anymore. It’s not always about the standard, particularly if you are using resources in a less than optimal way.

One of the things I like about The Open Group is that here we have actual practitioners. This is one of the best forums I have seen, because there are people who have actual subject matter expertise to bring to the table, which is so important in saying what is going to work and can be effective.

The last thing I am going to say is a nice thank you to the people in The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF), because I appreciate the caliber of my colleagues, and also Sally Long. They talk about this type of an effort as herding cats, and at least for me, it’s probably like herding a snarly cat. I can be very snarly. I’m sure you can pick up on that.

So I truly appreciate the professionalism and the focus and the targeting. Targeting a good slice of making a supply-chain problem better, not boiling the ocean, but very focused and targeted and with very high-caliber participation. So thank you to my colleagues and particularly thank you to Sally, and that’s it, I will turn it over to others.

By The Open GroupJim Hietala: We do, we have a few questions from the audience. So the first one and both here could feel free to chime in on this. Something you brought up Dr. Ross, building security in looking at software and systems engineering processes. How do you bring industry along in terms of commercial off-the-shelf products and services especially when you look at things like IoT, where we have got IP interfaces grafted on to all sorts of devices?

Ross: As Mary Ann was saying before, the strength of any standard is really its implementability out there. When we talk about, in particular, the engineering standard, the 15288 extension, if we do that correctly every organization out there who’s already using — let’s say a security development lifecycle like the 27034, you can pick your favorite standard — we should be able to reflect those activities in the different lanes of the 15288 processes.

This is a very important point that I got from Mary Ann’s discussion. We have to win the hearts and minds and be able to reflect things in a disciplined and structured process that doesn’t take people off their current game. If they’re doing good work, we should be able to reflect that good work and say, “I’m doing these activities whether it’s SDL, and this is how it would map to those activities that we are trying to find in the 15288.”

And that can apply to the IoT. Again, it goes back to the computer, whether it’s Oracle database or a Microsoft operating system. It’s all about the code and the discipline and structure of building that software and integrating it into a system. This is where we can really bring together industry, academia, and government and actually do something that we all agree on.

Different Take

Davidson: I would have a slightly different take on this. I know this is not a voice crying in the wilderness. My concern about the IoT goes back to things I learned in business school in financial market theory, which unfortunately has been borne out in 2008.

There are certain types of risks you can mitigate. If I cross a busy street, I’m worried about getting hit by a car. I can look both ways. I can mitigate that. You can’t mitigate systemic risk. It means that you created a fragile system. That is the problem with the IoT, and that is a problem that no jury of engineering will solve.

If it’s not a problem, why aren’t we giving nuclear weapons’ IP addresses? Okay, I am not making this up. The Air Force thought about that at one point. You’re laughing. Okay, Armageddon, there is an app for that.

That’s the problem. I know this is going to happen anyway. whether or not I approve of it, but I really wish that people could look at this, not just in terms of how many of these devices and what a great opportunity, but what is a systemic risk that we are creating by doing this.

My house is not connected to the Internet directly and I do not want somebody to shut my appliances off or shut down my refrigerator or lock it so that I can’t get into it or use that for launching an attack, those are the discussions we should be having — at least as much as how we make sure that people designing these things have a clue.

Hietala: The next question is, how do customers and practitioners value the cost of security, and then a kind of related question on what can global companies due to get C-Suite attention and investment on cybersecurity, that whole ROI value discussion?

Davidson: I know they value it because nobody calls me up and says, “I am bored this week. Don’t you have more security patches for me to apply?” That’s actually true. We know what it costs us to produce a lot of these patches, and it’s important for the amount of resources we spend on that I would much rather be putting them on building something new and innovative, where we could charge money for it and provide more value to customers.

So it’s cost avoidance, number one; number two more people have an IT backbone. They understand the value of having it be reliable. Probably one of the reasons people are moving to clouds is that it’s hard to maintain all these and hard to find the right people to maintain them. But also I do have more customers asking us now about our security practices, which is be careful what you wish for

I said this 10 years ago. People should be demanding. They know what we’re doing and now I am going to spend a lot of time answering RFPs, but that’s good. These people are aware of this. They’re running their business on our stuff and they want to know what kind of care we’re taking to make sure we’re protecting their data and their mission-critical applications as if it were ours.

Difficult Question

Ross: The ROI question is very difficult with regard to security. I think this goes back to what I said earlier. The sooner we get security out of its stovepipe and integrated as just part of the best practices that we do everyday, whether it’s in the development work at a company or whether it’s in our enterprises as part of our mainstream organizational management things like the SDLC, or if we are doing any engineering work within the organization, or if we have the Enterprise Architecture group involved. That integration makes security less of  “hey, I am special” and more of just a part of the way we do business.

So customers are looking for reliability and dependability. They rely on this great bed of IT product systems and services and they’re not always focused on the security aspects. They just want to make sure it works and that if there is an attack and the malware goes creeping through their system, they can be as protected as they need to be, and sometimes that flies way below their radar.

So it’s got to be a systemic process and an organizational transformation. I think we have to go through it, and we are not quite there just yet.

Davidson: Yeah, and you really do have to bake it in. I have a team of — I’ve got three more headcount, hoo-hoo — 45 people, but we have about 1,600 people in development whose jobs are to be security points of contact and security leads. They’re the boots on the ground who implement our program, because I don’t want to have an organization that peers over everybody’s shoulder to make sure they are writing good code. It’s not cost-effective, not a good way to do it. It’s cultural.

One of the ways that you do that is seeding those people in the organization, so they become the boots on the ground and they have authority to do things, because you’re not going to succeed otherwise.

Going back to Java, that was the first discussion I had with one of the executives that this is a cultural thing. Everybody needs to feel that he or she is personally responsible for security, not those 10-20 whatever those people are, whoever the security weenie is. It’s got to be everybody and when you can do that, you really have to see change and how things happen. Everybody is not going to be a security expert, but everybody has some responsibility for security.

Transcript available here.

Transcript of part of the proceedings from The Open Group San Diego 2015 in February. Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2015. All rights reserved.

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