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The Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard

The Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS), a Standard from The Open Group for Product Integrity and Supply Chain Security, Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard

Doing More to Secure IT Products and their Global Supply Chains

By Sally Long, The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum Director

As the Director of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, I am thrilled to share the news that The Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard – Mitigating Maliciously Tainted and Counterfeit Products (O-TTPS) v 1.1 is approved as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 20243:2015).

It is one of the first standards aimed at assuring both the integrity of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) information and communication technology (ICT) products and the security of their supply chains.

The standard defines a set of best practices for COTS ICT providers to use to mitigate the risk of maliciously tainted and counterfeit components from being incorporated into each phase of a product’s lifecycle. This encompasses design, sourcing, build, fulfilment, distribution, sustainment, and disposal. The best practices apply to in-house development, outsourced development and manufacturing, and to global supply chains.

The ISO/IEC standard will be published in the coming weeks. In advance of the ISO/IEC 20243 publication, The Open Group edition of the standard, technically identical to the ISO/IEC approved edition, is freely available here.

The standardization effort is the result of a collaboration in The Open Group Trusted Technology Provider Forum (OTTF), between government, third party evaluators and some of industry’s most mature and respected providers who came together as members and, over a period of five years, shared and built on their practices for integrity and security, including those used in-house and those used with their own supply chains. From these, they created a set of best practices that were standardized through The Open Group consensus review process as the O-TTPS. That was then submitted to the ISO/IEC JTC1 process for Publicly Available Specifications (PAS), where it was recently approved.

The Open Group has also developed an O-TTPS Accreditation Program to recognize Open Trusted Technology Providers who conform to the standard and adhere to best practices across their entire enterprise, within a specific product line or business unit, or within an individual product. Accreditation is applicable to all ICT providers in the chain: OEMS, integrators, hardware and software component suppliers, value-add distributors, and resellers.

While The Open Group assumes the role of the Accreditation Authority over the entire program, it also uses third-party assessors to assess conformance to the O-TTPS requirements. The Accreditation Program and the Assessment Procedures are publicly available here. The Open Group is also considering submitting the O-TTPS Assessment Procedures to the ISO/IEC JTC1 PAS process.

This international approval comes none-too-soon, given the global threat landscape continues to change dramatically, and cyber attacks – which have long targeted governments and big business – are growing in sophistication and prominence. We saw this most clearly with the Sony hack late last year. Despite successes using more longstanding hacking methods, maliciously intentioned cyber criminals are looking at new ways to cause damage and are increasingly looking at the technology supply chain as a potentially profitable avenue. In such a transitional environment, it is worth reviewing again why IT products and their supply chains are so vulnerable and what can be done to secure them in the face of numerous challenges.

Risk lies in complexity

Information Technology supply chains depend upon complex and interrelated networks of component suppliers across a wide range of global partners. Suppliers deliver parts to OEMS, or component integrators who build products from them, and in turn offer products to customers directly or to system integrators who integrate them with products from multiple providers at a customer site. This complexity leaves ample opportunity for malicious components to enter the supply chain and leave vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited.

As a result, organizations now need assurances that they are buying from trusted technology providers who follow best practices every step of the way. This means that they not only follow secure development and engineering practices in-house while developing their own software and hardware pieces, but also that they are following best practices to secure their supply chains. Modern cyber criminals go through strenuous efforts to identify any sort of vulnerability that can be exploited for malicious gain and the supply chain is no different.

Untracked malicious behavior and counterfeit components

Tainted products introduced into the supply chain pose significant risk to organizations because altered products introduce the possibility of untracked malicious behavior. A compromised electrical component or piece of software that lies dormant and undetected within an organization could cause tremendous damage if activated externally. Customers, including governments are moving away from building their own high assurance and customized systems and moving toward the use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) information and communication technology (ICT), typically because they are better, cheaper and more reliable. But a maliciously tainted COTS ICT product, once connected or incorporated, poses a significant security threat. For example, it could allow unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data including intellectual property, or allow hackers to take control of the organization’s network. Perhaps the most concerning element of the whole scenario is the amount of damage that such destructive hardware or software could inflict on safety or mission critical systems.

Like maliciously tainted components, counterfeit products can also cause significant damage to customers and providers resulting in failed or inferior products, revenue and brand equity loss, and disclosure of intellectual property. Although fakes have plagued manufacturers and suppliers for many years, globalization has greatly increased the number of out-sourced components and the number of links in every supply chain, and with that comes increased risk of tainted or counterfeit parts making it into operational environments. Consider the consequences if a faulty component was to fail in a government, financial or safety critical system or if it was also maliciously tainted for the sole purpose of causing widespread catastrophic damage.

Global solution for a global problem – the relevance of international standards

One of the emerging challenges is the rise of local demands on IT providers related to cybersecurity and IT supply chains. Despite technology supply chains being global in nature, more and more local solutions are cropping up to address some of the issues mentioned earlier, resulting in multiple countries with different policies that included disparate and variable requirements related to cybersecurity and their supply chains. Some are competing local standards, but many are local solutions generated by governmental policies that dictate which country to buy from and which not to. The supply chain has become a nationally charged issue that requires the creation of a level playing field regardless of where your company is based. Competition should be based on the quality, integrity and security of your products and processes and not where the products were developed, manufactured, or assembled.

Having transparent criteria through global international standards like our recently approved O-TTPS standard (ISO/IEC 20243) and objective assessments like the O-TTPS Accreditation Program that help assure conformance to those standards is critical to both raise the bar on global suppliers and to provide equal opportunity (vendor-neutral and country-nuetral) for all constituents in the chain to reach that bar – regardless of locale.

The approval by ISO/IEC of this universal product integrity and supply chain security standard is an important next step in the continued battle to secure ICT products and protect the environments in which they operate. Suppliers should explore what they need to do to conform to the standard and buyers should consider encouraging conformance by requesting conformance to it in their RFPs. By adhering to relevant international standards and demonstrating conformance we will have a powerful tool for technology providers and component suppliers around the world to utilize in combating current and future cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure, our governments, our business enterprises and even on the COTS ICT that we have in our homes. This is truly a universal problem that we can begin to solve through adoption and adherence to international standards.

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

Contact:  s.long@opengroup.org; @sallyannlong

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2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 2

By The Open Group

Continuing on the theme of predictions, here are a few more, which focus on global IT trends, business architecture, OTTF and Open Group events in 2013.

Global Enterprise Architecture

By Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities

Cloud is no longer a bleeding edge technology – most organizations are already well on their way to deploying cloud technology.  However, Cloud implementations are resurrecting a perennial problem for organizations—integration. Now that Cloud infrastructures are being deployed, organizations are having trouble integrating different systems, especially with systems hosted by third parties outside their organization. What will happen when two, three or four technical delivery systems are hosted on AND off premise? This presents a looming integration problem.

As we see more and more organizations buying into cloud infrastructures, we’ll see an increase in cross-platform integration architectures globally in 2013. The role of the enterprise architect will become more complex. Architectures must not only ensure that systems are integrated properly, but architects also need to figure out a way to integrate outsourced teams and services and determine responsibility across all systems. Additionally, outsourcing and integration will lead to increased focus on security in the coming year, especially in healthcare and financial sectors. When so many people are involved, and responsibility is shared or lost in the process, gaping holes can be left unnoticed. As data is increasingly shared between organizations and current trends escalate, security will also become more and more of a concern. Integration may yield great rewards architecturally, but it also means greater exposure to vulnerabilities outside of your firewall.

Within the Architecture Forum, we will be working on improvements to the TOGAF® standard throughout 2013, as well as an effort to continue to harmonize the TOGAF specification with the ArchiMate® modelling language.  The Forum also expects to publish a whitepaper on application portfolio management in the new year, as well as be involved in the upcoming Cloud Reference Architecture.

In China, The Open Group is progressing well. In 2013, we’ll continue translating The Open Group website, books and whitepapers from English to Chinese. Partnerships and Open CA certification will remain in the forefront of global priorities, as well as enrolling TOGAF trainers throughout Asia Pacific as Open Group members. There are a lot of exciting developments arising, and we will keep you updated as we expand our footprint in China and the rest of Asia.

Open Group Events in 2013

By Patty Donovan, Vice President of Membership and Events

In 2013, the biggest change for us will be our quarterly summit. The focus will shift toward an emphasis on verticals. This new focus will debut at our April event in Sydney where the vertical themes include Mining, Government, and Finance. Additional vertical themes that we plan to cover throughout the year include: Healthcare, Transportation, Retail, just to name a few. We will also continue to increase the number of our popular Livestream sessions as we have seen an extremely positive reaction to them as well as all of our On-Demand sessions – listen to best selling authors and industry leaders who participated as keynote and track speakers throughout the year.

Regarding social media, we made big strides in 2012 and will continue to make this a primary focus of The Open Group. If you haven’t already, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join the chat on (#ogchat) one of our Security focused Tweet Jams, and join our LinkedIn Group. And if you have the time, we’d love for you to contribute to The Open Group blog.

We’re always open to new suggestions, so if you have a creative idea on how we can improve your membership, Open Group events, webinars, podcasts, please let me know! Also, please be sure to attend the upcoming Open Group Conference in Newport Beach, Calif., which is taking place on January 28-31. The conference will address Big Data.

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Marketing Director for Open CA and Open CITS

Business Architecture is still a relatively new discipline, but in 2013 I think it will continue to grow in prominence and visibility from an executive perspective. C-Level decision makers are not just looking at operational efficiency initiatives and cost reduction programs to grow their future revenue streams; they are also looking at market strategy and opportunity analysis.

Business Architects are extremely valuable to an organization when they understand market and technology trends in a particular sector. They can then work with business leaders to develop strategies based on the capabilities and positioning of the company to increase revenue, enhance their market position and improve customer loyalty.

Senior management recognizes that technology also plays a crucial role in how organizations can achieve their business goals. A major role of the Business Architect is to help merge technology with business processes to help facilitate this business transformation.

There are a number of key technology areas for 2013 where Business Architects will be called upon to engage with the business such as Cloud Computing, Big Data and social networking. Therefore, the need to have competent Business Architects is a high priority in both the developed and emerging markets and the demand for Business Architects currently exceeds the supply. There are some training and certification programs available based on a body of knowledge, but how do you establish who is a practicing Business Architect if you are looking to recruit?

The Open Group is trying to address this issue and has incorporated a Business Architecture stream into The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. There has already been significant interest in this stream from both organizations and practitioners alike. This is because Open CA is a skills- and experience-based program that recognizes, at different levels, those individuals who are actually performing in a Business Architecture role. You must complete a candidate application package and be interviewed by your peers. Achieving certification demonstrates your competency as a Business Architect and therefore will stand you in good stead for both next year and beyond.

You can view the conformance criteria for the Open CA Business Architecture stream at https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/X120.

Trusted Technology

By Sally Long, Director of Consortia Services

The interdependency of all countries on global technology providers and technology providers’ dependencies on component suppliers around the world is more certain than ever before.  The need to work together in a vendor-neutral, country-neutral environment to assure there are standards for securing technology development and supply chain operations will become increasingly apparent in 2013. Securing the global supply chain can not be done in a vacuum, by a few providers or a few governments, it must be achieved by working together with all governments, providers, component suppliers and integrators and it must be done through open standards and accreditation programs that demonstrate conformance to those standards and are available to everyone.

The Open Group’s Trusted Technology Forum is providing that open, vendor and country-neutral environment, where suppliers from all countries and governments from around the world can work together in a trusted collaborative environment, to create a standard and an accreditation program for securing the global supply chain. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) Snapshot (Draft) was published in March of 2012 and is the basis for our 2013 predictions.

We predict that in 2013:

  • Version 1.0 of the O-TTPS (Standard) will be published.
  • Version 1.0 will be submitted to the ISO PAS process in 2013, and will likely become part of the ISO/IEC 27036 standard, where Part 5 of that ISO standard is already reserved for the O-TTPS work
  • An O-TTPS Accreditation Program – open to all providers, component suppliers, and integrators, will be launched
  • The Forum will continue the trend of increased member participation from governments and suppliers around the world


Filed under Business Architecture, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, O-TTF, OTTF

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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