Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton, Gordon Haff

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

Cloud Security: Article

Coordinating Security Information

What happens when an agency finds a better point solution than one currently in place?

A recent article in Government Computer News raised the topic of FISMA reporting, specifically describing the "pessimism" of many USG agencies over meeting the September 2012 deadline for "using continuous monitoring to meet Federal Information Security Management Act reporting requirements." The article cites a survey of over 200 government IT professionals, conducted by RedSeal Networks, in which 55% of respondents felt they won't be ready, or don't know if they will be ready, by the deadline. One can certainly debate the significance of the number of agencies expressing concern over meeting the deadline, and the reasons given would likely drag the conversation to arguing over the validity of a deadline set by government for something that is far more complex than "flipping a switch." But set that aside for the moment.

More interesting is the fact that, when you look at the responses by the role of the respondents, "53 percent of security managers, administrators and auditors expected to meet the Sept. 30 deadline, while only 28 percent of CIOs and chief information security officers expected to." Mike Lloyd, RedSeal's CTO, said "This is an interesting finding, not what a cynic might expect." That cynic would expect the typical (over-)confidence of an executive, the one telling folks "no problem, we're right on track" while the IT managers, the ones actually tasked with the design, deployment and operation of relevant systems, the feverish scramble to find the right tools, the right people, and the right data to meet the reporting requirement.

In fact, the opposite is the case. The IT managers believe they have the right point solutions to do the monitoring, analyze the data, and process the relevant compliance reports. They aren't worried about trying to figure out how they're going to perform the continuous monitoring, primarily because today's IT vendors are creating products that provide the capabilities to meet these requirements. So why don't these CIOs and CISOs share the confidence of their IT staff?

The answer is both simple ... and not so simple. In discussing this survey and resulting article, the editors at SANS described the lack of C-level confidence this way (emphasis added): "Agencies need to find ways to bring together information from various systems to provide the necessary set of data." Bring information together? That's easy, just get a bunch of good developers to build custom integration points between all these systems that the IT managers feel really good about (rightly so), and then the data will flow! Sounds great...until you look a little closer at what this entails: a group of good developers is expensive, not to mention hard to find. Assuming you can find all these good developers (and afford to pay them), can they knock this effort out in, say, 6 months? 9 months? Factor in the unique and often proprietary formats and data structures of these various solutions, and now what, 12 months? Remember that September deadline?

What happens when the agency finds a better point solution than one currently in place? Bring back those good, expensive developers (or retain them) to build new integration points between the existing solutions and this new one? Not so simple anymore, is it?

This approach is not timely, cost-effective, or scalable. A better approach is to build a foundation that allows these best-of-breed point solutions to share data in a common format, providing each solution with the ability to use only that data that is relevant to it.

Over the last four years, the Trusted Computing Group (trustedcomputinggroup.org) has developed and published a set of open specifications called IF-MAP (or "Interface to Metadata Access Points"). IF-MAP is a protocol specifically designed to allow disparate systems from different vendors to share information. The IF-MAP open standard makes it possible for any authorized device or system to publish information to an IF-MAP server, to search that server for relevant information, and to subscribe to any updates to that information. This "sharing" is done in a standardized way, eliminating the need for costly custom integration points between these disparate systems. Through the use of IF-MAP, agencies would have the ability to enable data and information sharing between systems in an automated and continuous manner.

Share data without allowing unauthorized access among logs, records/databases, firewalls, provisioning systems, switches, and more.

Track devices and their owners on the network.

Track/monitor network traffic.

Control the activity/access of devices operating inappropriately.

Manage/Tie legacy systems into global enterprise (i.e., SCADA).

Validate endpoints and allow access (Standard managed endpoint security).

Share security data among devices and have those security devices act based on the collective available data.

And the best part - many government agencies already have solutions in place that support IF-MAP. Vendors including Lumeta, Juniper, Enterasys, and Infoblox, just to name a few, have products supporting IF-MAP. Numerous government agencies and system integrators have labs dedicated to using IF-MAP and similar open standard specifications to develop solutions to the biggest cyber-security challenges out there - such as real-time configuration management databases; the integration of physical and network security; and policy-based remote access - all using IF-MAP and COTS products.

IF-MAP alone won't necessarily help those agencies meet the September deadline, but one thing is certain - not using open standards and specifications such as IF-MAP will make the effort more costly, more time-consuming, and less flexible. If you can show me a government agency that has extra money and extra time, I'd love to see it.

More Stories By Steve Hanna

Steve Hanna is co-chair of the Trusted Network Connect Work Group in the Trusted Computing Group and co-chair of the Network Endpoint Assessment Working Group in the Internet Engineering Task Force. An inventor or co-inventor of 30 issued U.S. patents, he holds an A.B. in Computer Science from Harvard University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...