Tag Archives: Joshua Brickman

Quick Hit Thoughts from RSA Conference 2013

By Joshua Brickman, CA Technologies

I have a great job at CA Technologies, I can’t deny it. Working in CA Technologies Federal Certification Program Office, I have the responsibility of knowing what certifications, accreditations, mandates, etc. are relevant and then helping them get implemented.

One of the responsibilities (and benefits) of my job is getting to go to great conferences like the RSA Security Conference which just wrapped last week. This year I was honored to be selected by the Program Committee to speak twice at the event. Both talks fit well to the Policy and Government track at the show.

First I was on a panel with a distinguished group of senior leaders from both industry and government. The title of the session was, Certification of Products or Accreditation of Organizations: Which to Do? The idea was to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of individual product certifications vs. looking at an entire company or business unit. Since I’ve led CA through many product certifications (certs) and have been involved in accreditation programs as well, my position was to be able to bring real-world industry perspective to the panel. The point I tried to make was that product certs (like Common Criteria – CC) add value, but only for the specific purpose that they are designed for (security functions). We’ve seen CC expanding beyond just security enforcing products and that’s concerning. Product certs are expensive, time consuming and take away from time that could be spent on innovation. We want to do CC when it will be long lasting and add value.

On the idea of accreditation of organizations, I first talked about CMMI and my views on its challenges. I then shifted to the Open Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF), a forum of The Open Group, as I’ve written about before and said that the accreditation program that group is building is more focused than CMMI. OTTF is building something that  – when adopted by industry and THEIR suppliers – will provide assurance that technology is being built the right way (best practices) and will give acquirers confidence that products bought from vendors that have the OTTF mark can be trusted. The overall conclusion of the panel was that accreditation of organizations and certifications of products both had a place, and that it is important that the value was understood by buyers and vendors.

A couple of days later, I presented with Mary Ann Davidson, CSO of Oracle. The main point of the talk was to try and give the industry perspective on mandates, legislation and regulations – which all seemed to be focused on technology providers – to solve the cyber security issues which we see every day. We agreed that sometimes regulations make sense but having a clear problem definition, language and limited scope was the path to success and acceptance. We also encouraged government to get involved with industry via public/private partnerships, like The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum.

Collaboration is the key to fighting the cyber security battle. If you are interested in hearing more about ways to get involved in building a safer and more productive computing environment, feel free to contact me or leave a comment on this blog. Cybersecurity is a complicated issue and there were well over 20,000 security professionals discussing it at RSA Conference. We’d love to hear your views as well.

 This blog post was originally published on the CA Technologies blog.


joshJoshua Brickman, PMP (Project Management Professional), runs CA Technologies Federal Certifications Program. He has led CA through the successful evaluation of sixteen products through the Common Criteria over the last six years (in both the U.S. and Canada). He is also a Steering Committee member on The Open Group consortium focused on Supply Chain Integrity and Security, The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF). He also runs CA Technologies Accessibility Program. 

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OTTF – Providing a Level of “Surety”

By Joshua Brickman, CA Technologies

A couple of weeks ago while the Supreme Court heard testimony about the constitutionality of “Obamacare,” I was glued to my computer watching the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Energy and Commerce hear a very different but no less important type of testimony. The topic was supply chain integrity and security.    Two panels appeared before the committee – one containing U.S. government agencies; and the other focused on industry’s response to the issue. Representing industry was Dave Lounsbury from The Open Group.  While it seemed to me that the focus of the committee was the lack of preparedness some agencies had for supply chain attacks, Lounsbury admirably represented how industry is responding to the burgeoning topic with a public/private partnership and a consensus-driven process.

The process he referred to is the Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) for which the Open Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) published a snapshot of this past February. In full disclosure, I represent a founding member of OTTF. You might say I have a vested interest in the O-TTPS becoming the de-facto standard for supply chain integrity and security, and you would be right. But that’s not just because I worked on the creation of this document. It’s because, as Lounsbury emphasized to the House, I believe the right way to ensure the integrity and security for the supply chains of acquirers or purchasers of technology is to build a consensus driven standard that focuses on the best practices needed to ensure the integrity of the product being produced.  This would allow acquirers to buy products with confidence. With this “snapshot” release, we’ve focused on the two most prevalent threats

  1. Tainted product – the product is produced by the provider and is acquired through reputable channels but has been tampered with maliciously.
  2. Counterfeit product – the product is produced other than by, or for, the provider, or is supplied by other than a reputable channel, and is presented as being legitimate.[1]

For the first time, industry has come together and put together a comprehensive set of best practices that, when followed, can help to protect the supply chain for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products  starting with sourcing, through manufacturing, and ending with delivery to the customer.

But the work is not done. Now that we have a snapshot, the team is working hard to define conformance criteria as well as an accreditation program. The next quarterly meeting at the upcoming Open Group Cannes conference will have some great opportunities for people to hear more about OTTF.

  • Andras Szakal, Chief Technology Officer, IBM U.S. Federal, will present as a part of the Open Trusted Technology Track a talk entitled, “The Global Supply Chain: Presentation and Discussion on The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum and the Challenges of Protecting Products Against Counterfeit and Tampering”
  • Sally Long, Director, The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, U.S., will follow with “The Global Supply Chain: Presentation and Discussion on The Open Group Trusted Identifying Trusted Technology Providers – What are the Conformance Criteria that Technology Providers and their Component Suppliers need to Meet to be Considered Trusted Technology Providers?”

When Rep. Terry from Nebraska asked Lounsbury if additional definition (regulations) was needed for ensuring the integrity of the supply chain, Lounsbury answered perfectly when he said: “Ultimately the use of COTs implies that an agency purchases from a commercial marketplace. The question is what are the standards that your supplier uses to demonstrate that they can be trusted? Part of that would be the processes they have for themselves throughout their product development and fulfillment lifecycle but also are they imposing those standards on their suppliers as well.”

Rep. Terry followed up:  “Do you think that is sufficient? How do they have a level of surety that somethings not being compromised way down the assembly line?”

Lounsbury:  “In the commercial world typically we look to some sort of a conformance program in which a supplier would submit evidence either through a third party lab and certainly to an independent certification authority to make sure in fact that they have some evidence of those best practices before they are recognized as a trusted partner.”

It’s clear that government is concerned about this issue. The OTTF is building a standard that customers can point to and ask suppliers about. When the OTTF finishes its conformance criteria, rolls out the accreditation program and vendors become accredited, that will help provide a level of “surety” that Rep. Terry and others on the committee want.

Joshua Brickman, project management professional, runs CA Technologies Federal Certifications Program. He has led CA through the successful evaluation of sixteen products through the Common Criteria over the last five years (in both the U.S. and Canada). Brickman has given talks at the last four International Common Criteria Conferences. Most recently, he has been a Steering Committee member on the Open Group consortium focused on Supply Chain Integrity and Security, The Trusted Technology Forum. He also runs CA Technologies Accessibility Program. 

[1] Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS), Catalog number S121, Feb 2012, p1-2

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