Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Dan Blacharski, Elizabeth White, Kong Yang, Carmen Gonzalez

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
A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.” The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the...
When you decide to launch a startup company, business advisors, counselors, bankers and armchair know-it-alls will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get funding. While there is some validity to that boilerplate piece of wisdom, the availability of and need for startup funding has gone through a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the next few years will see even more of a shift. A perfect storm of events is causing this seismic shift. On the macroeconomic side this ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.