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Chapter003

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Information Assurance for the Enterprise

Information Assurance for the Enterprise

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  • 1. Chapter 3 Security Policy
  • 2. Objectives
    • Define information assets, risks, and countermeasures
    • Structure a synergistic information assurance solution
    • Identify the role of policy in the information assurance process
    • Design a functional information assurance and security management system
  • 3. Protection of Information
    • Ensuring protection of information is difficult
      • Weak points are in the areas of policy and process, rather than technology
      • Breakdowns in security are likely to occur because of failure to:
        • Understand the problem
        • Set proper goals
        • Follow correct procedure
  • 4. Protection of Information
    • Findings of Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveal the lack of:
      • Risk-based information assurance plans
      • Documentation of information assurance policies
      • Programs for evaluating the effectiveness of controls
      • Application development and change controls
      • Implementation and software products usage control
      • Adequate knowledge of information assurance controls
  • 5. Definitions
    • Assets – anything a person or organization owns that is valuable
      • Tangible assets
      • Intangible assets
    • Risk – likelihood that a particular threat will produce a harmful effect
      • Assessed in terms of their impact and probability of occurrence
      • Increases or decreases based on number of vulnerabilities present
  • 6. Definitions
    • Countermeasures – set of actions to prevent or slow an impending attack from threats
    • Information assurance process – thinking through and responding with the right set of countermeasures
      • Other definitions include:
        • Threats – any event that can have an undesirable affect on the condition of an asset
        • Vulnerabilities – flaws or weak points in a protection scheme
        • When a threat can exploit a vulnerability, the vulnerability becomes a weakness
  • 7. Characteristics: Information Assurance Process
    • Supports three common characteristics:
      • Availability – ensures that information is provided to users when it is required
      • Integrity – centers on the qualities of authenticity, accuracy, and completeness
      • Confidentiality – need to restrict access to information or data
        • From a system point of view, confidentiality is the assurance that access controls are enforced
  • 8. Establishing Information Assurance Process
    • Organizing appropriate set of countermeasures into a seamless and effective response profile
    • Requires integrating a range of elements into a working solution
      • Ensuring coordination: integrating functions
        • Solutions encompass measures from a diverse range of disciplines
        • Each discipline contributes elements that will be part of the eventual response
  • 9. Establishing Information Assurance Process
      • Creating the assurance process – role of design
        • Effective programs demand integrated business and technological processes
        • Must be designed deliberately and deployed through a strategic planning activity
        • Solutions must be composed of an integrated set of responses, embedded in day-to-day operation, invisible to end users
      • Security infrastructure – making the process systematic
        • Combined set of policies, roles and responsibilities and accountabilities for a given organization
      • Planning – formalizing the assurance process
        • Turns abstract policies into concrete actions
  • 10. Policy and Information Assurance
    • Integration of diverse components is guided by information assurance policies
    • Policies are a shared understanding of the process to be followed
      • They must be uniform to ensure seamlessness
      • They coordinate work across the organization
      • They establish the critical path to assurance
      • They are defined based on a standard
  • 11. Policy and Information Assurance
    • In information assurance, policies support five common aims:
      • Prevention – security from internal and external penetration, and prevention of undesirable occurrence
      • Detection – reaction to the nature, existence, presence, or fact of a penetration
      • Containment – protection of sensitive data
      • Deterrence – policies, procedures, and actions designed to discourage penetration
      • Recovery – restoration after a failure or penetration
  • 12. Policy and Information Assurance
    • Three different types of policies are associated with specific types of decision making
  • 13. Policy and Information Assurance
    • To create awareness, the definition process should include:
      • Definition of information as an organizational asset
      • Identification and evaluation of the sensitivity of systems and data
      • Creation of plans to ensure security and control of each identified system
      • Development and implementation of training programs
        • To enable and enforce the understanding and the use of proper information assurance measures
  • 14. Relationship: Policy and Assurance Process
    • A formal information assurance planning exercise is essential to the development of a tailored, organization-wide assurance scheme
  • 15. General Requirements for the Information Assurance Process
    • Information integrity, confidentiality, availability, authentication, and nonrepudiation
    • Relevant needs represented in the solution
    • Responsibility to performing functions assigned and understood explicitly
    • Accountability and enforcement
    • Regular and systematic assessments
    • Participants should understand the importance
    • Continuity of operation
    • Conformity to legal requirements
    • Proportionate expense
    • Ethical use of information
  • 16. General Requirements for the Information Assurance Process
    • Functional elements of the comprehensive long-range information assurance planning process
  • 17. Developing an Assurance Plan
    • A formal representation of how the organization intends to address its policy requirements
      • Characteristics of a strategic plan:
        • Complete
        • Correct
        • Understandable
        • Unambiguous
        • Traceable
      • Strategic plan should provide a description of evaluation of the system
        • Insures that the operation of the system meets the goals defined by the plan
  • 18. Designing a Functional Information Security System
    • Outcome of the planning process is a formal Information Security Management System
      • “ISMS” describes a comprehensive set of discrete management controls arrayed into an operational solution
  • 19. Designing a Functional Information Security System
    • Development of an ISMS must originate with the senior management
  • 20. Defining the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Information assurance boundaries – based on the concept of perimeters
      • Information assurance perimeter – the outer boundary of the space to be secured
        • First step: establish the perimeter of the ISMS
      • Complicated by the feasibility factor
        • The likelihood that a task or purpose can be accomplished
        • Based on whether the perimeter selected assures all priority assets and fits within the available resources and capabilities of the organization
  • 21. Defining the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Assess the effects of threats against the financial and staff resources
      • Factors include answers to questions such as:
        • What is the level of criticality for each of the information assets that falls within the scope of the system?
        • What is the degree of assurance required for each?
        • What are the effects of identifiable threats?
        • How accessible is the data?
        • How complex and critical is the system?
  • 22. Defining the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Decision process that underlies setting the boundaries for the ISMS based on the value of the asset
  • 23. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Specifies rules for the behaviors needed to counteract threats to the information assets
    • Fundamental activities that should be recognizable include:
      • Top-down understanding and refinement
      • Progressive (or iterative) enhancement
      • Optimization based on feasibility
      • Continuous control
      • Measurement and assessment
  • 24. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Identification of realistic threats
  • 25. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
    • Optimum set of controls
      • Step 1: Organizational setup
        • Launches the process, an awareness exercise
        • Requires total up-front commitment from all involved
      • Step 2: Asset identification and baselining
        • Form of the asset must be known and categorized
        • Aggregate set of secured assets is termed a baseline
      • Step 3: Risk analysis
        • Evaluates the damage that might occur and analyzes and categorizes the acceptable options
  • 26. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
      • Step 4: Asset valuation
        • What is the level of criticality of each particular information asset in the asset baseline?
        • What is the specific degree of resource commitment required to assure it?
      • Step 5: Selection of a control set
        • Involves the specification, design, scheduling, and installation of a working control set
        • Information and associated controls, must be directly traceable to each other
  • 27. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
      • Step 6: Operational testing
        • Validation takes place after the deployment of the system
        • Employs assumptions developed in the risk analysis
  • 28. Building the Information Assurance Boundaries
      • Step 7: Finalization of the baseline
        • Aggregate controls are finalized into the released version of the security system
        • Baseline that represents operational form of the information assurance system is maintained under strict configuration management
  • 29. Maintaining Information Assurance Over Time
    • Ensures that the information assurance system continues to be appropriate to the environment
    • A disciplined and systematic process is used to guarantee that the protection will be maintained
    • A continuous process based on continuous feedback from operations
  • 30. Handling Expectations
    • Information assurance operates under process entropy that causes well-defined processes to eventually fall apart
    • Exception processes – rapid response agents who respond to new or unexpected incidents
      • Attributes of countermeasures
        • Timely – ensure effective remediation
        • Responsive – evolved directly from the threat
        • Disciplined – structured and followed systematically
        • Usable – involves all types of users in the solution
  • 31. Essential Role of Accountability in Maintaining Assurance
    • Accountability – mechanism that enables the internal control function
      • Tasks to be executed to ensure accountability:
        • Establish a direct link between identified risks and accountable parties
        • Ensure that accountable parties understand their duties
        • Ensure that accountable parties have accepted their responsibilities
        • Ensure that accountable parties are capable of responding to incidents
      • Enforcement should be tailored to the information assurance policies
  • 32. Communicating Organization and Technical Direction
    • Success of the information assurance process rests on effective communication
      • Participants must understand the rules of behavior
      • Information assurance schemes are complex and subject to change
        • Behavior must be attuned to the situation
  • 33. Ensuring Organizational Awareness
    • To ensure organizational awareness
      • All applicable policy, procedure goals, and nuances of operation must be communicated
        • Communication process must be formally structured and carefully managed
        • Participants should understand the reasons for adequate protection
          • Ensured by an awareness or “buy-in” program prior to establishing the system
  • 34. Enforcing Discipline
    • Activities need to be performed on a disciplined basis and in a repeatable way
      • Consistent performance – essential to success
      • Effective control relies on the ability to
        • Supervise and enforce individual and group behavior
        • Monitor employee performance
        • Invoke willingness and ability of individuals to follow procedure continuously on a daily basis
  • 35. Review Process
    • Management review
      • Evaluates the performance of individuals and the execution of the process
      • Supports decisions about boundary settings, corrective actions, and allocation of resources
      • Identifies and reports variations from that plan and/or the defined procedures and presents evidence
      • Informs supervisory personnel and staff about a failure to perform properly
      • Involves the participation of the individual who has been assigned accountability for the process
  • 36. Review Process
    • Technical reviews
      • Focus on items related to the performance of technology against requirements
        • Technical components include hardware, software, and documentation
        • Entails questions such as
          • Proper implementation
          • Performance conformity to specifications
          • Purpose achievement
      • Supports technical and management personnel with direct responsibility
      • Discovers and reports vulnerabilities that affect performance
  • 37. Formal versus Informal Review
    • Inspections – considerable analysis is conducted prior to the generation of findings
    • Walkthroughs – findings are reported with the action items as general recommendations
      • Audits ensure trust to the process of walkthroughs
        • Identifies emerging problems
        • Offers independent certification of conformance
        • Lists applicable standards, criteria, and evidences that support audit conclusions
      • Audits usually require
        • A common model, or standard, as the reference point
        • Sound documentary evidence of processes, procedures, and other deliverables to support findings
  • 38. Measuring Performance
    • Ability to base management decisions on data is an important aspect of an ongoing information assurance maintenance process
    • Measurement programs
      • Allow decision making based on evidence
      • Allow assessment of performance
      • Bring deviations to the right person’s attention
        • This is ensured by regularized reviews of each operational element
  • 39. Measuring Performance
    • Attributes of an effective assessment program:
      • Factual – values are directly observable
      • Adaptable – measures are used that appropriately fit the circumstance
      • Meaningful – Outcomes are understandable to all
    • Rule: whatever measures are selected must be applied consistently and uniformly

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