Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Pat Romanski

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, 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.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...