Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Jnan Dash, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Kalyan Ramanathan

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Linux Containers

Open Source Cloud: Article

How To Design and Implement an Enterprise Open Source Security Architecture

Ensure Your IT Assets Are Available, Reliable, and Safe

Information security is a top priority for many companies. Protecting information from external threats such as hackers, viruses, and spam, as well as governmental regulation requirements (SOX, HIPAA, NISPOM, etc.), are driving IT purchases beyond ROI as C-level executives seek to assure shareholders (and themselves) that assets are secure within the company complex. Viewed as today's growth market, many software/hardware/service companies are creating offerings to mitigate perceived risk or actual liability.

The security environment within some organizations may be somewhat lax - "safe" behind the routers, IDS, and firewalls. In this article, I'll discuss how to create a security architecture, including analysis, planning and prioritizing security needs, and I'll examine the following topics:

  • Understanding security architecture
  • Balancing threats, costs, and the value of secured assets
  • Creating an architecture that fits the business framework
  • A layered examination of security, including network access, application access, external access, and physical access
In addition, references are provided at the end of the article with links to useful information.

Understanding Security
Security architecture differs from other kinds of security in that it addresses requirements from a high-level perspective as opposed to a tactical perspective. When possible, you should understand your company's security requirements before specific security issues are implemented. It's as important to know your own assets, where they are deployed, and what they're worth to your company, as it is to know what threats they are facing.

Security architecture can become very complex. By looking at security from multiple perspectives, including external access and physical security, network security, application and computer-specific security, you'll be looking from the outside in as well as from the inside out. These perspectives must also be balanced against other business requirements, financial and otherwise. Whatever model or security architecture you use, you are trying to ensure that your assets are available, reliable, and safe. Consider Figure 1.

The confidentiality perspective prevents your competition from siphoning off the cream of your company's products. The integrity perspective protects your information from unauthorized modification with verifiable, auditable access records. The availability perspective ensures that information within your business is accessible at all times. Your security architecture should focus on delivering these three attributes. Securing your information while keeping the click-and-mortar business open and vibrant is a very challenging task.

Dollars and Sense
When planning your security architecture, you are governed by overriding factors including time and money. In some cases, spending one makes more sense than the other. For example, a small company pushing their first product into the marketplace may require a security architecture overridden by cost above all (if the product doesn't make it to market, having a safe infrastructure doesn't matter). They may have to phase in security measures over time. At the other end, non-compliance with a regulatory security standard could cost a company a large account, or even threaten its ability to remain open for business. (See Figure 2)

It's also important to understand that the strategic view of your enterprise security architecture is a view of where you want to be. Few companies can afford to start from scratch with regard to implementing security. For example, your company may currently address physical access with Intrusion Detection Systems, gateways, and firewalls. These are integral elements of a good architecture, but alone they may not adequately address the risk to your company.

To create the appropriate architecture for your business, you need to strike a balance between the value of assets being protected and the cost of the protection. As a general guideline, protect the highest valued assets most stringently. This may be your source code and the servers it resides in, or perhaps the marketing info including the initial public offering data. Tape backup into an offsite location may provide adequate protection for some businesses (based on the cost/value analysis), while others may require biometric access to the clean rooms where prototyping is occurring. Secure higher-priority assets first, and keep moving forward with planned steps to reach a secure destination.

Create a Security Architecture That Fits the Business Framework
As we have seen, there are multiple perspectives in a security architecture. Many models exist that may match one, some, or all of the important perspectives. There are many framework examples, including the Lattice, the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework, the Clark-Wilson or Biba models, and many other reference models (see the hyperlink section for reference links to these and other frameworks). In each case, the common goal is to create a balance between the business needs and the information systems that support them. Understanding what is important in relation to other things in your business helps you value both the assets and the corresponding protection you will afford them.

For example, Figure 3 is an X-Y graph that shows assets increasing in value (up the vertical axis), facing increasing risk over time (on the horizontal axis extending to the right).

This simplistic representation shows the most highly valued assets facing the least exposure to risk over time, descending in value to assets that can withstand increased exposure to risk over time. Whatever method you use, the value of assets in your enterprise needs to be determined. Revisit these models when you acquire additional assets so that their value is properly established and defended. In this way, there is an ongoing evaluation of what assets are present and their security needs within the business framework.

Network Security Architecture - It's Not Just Firewalls Anymore
As your customer community grows more sophisticated and begins to expect more protection from your products or services, the potential for accidental or intentional misuse or attack within your company grows as well. A majority of data loss in companies today occurs via credentialed accounts. Similarly, reliable and correct delivery of information on your LAN or WAN is no longer guaranteed via TCP/IP, with address spoofing and snooping available to anyone on your network, unless network security is active from the inside-out as well. Evaluate this short list of network security mechanisms as potential additions to your security plan:

More Stories By Richard Williams

Richard Williams is director of education for Symark Software in Agoura Hills, California. With over 20 years of experience in systems administration, architecture, and design, Richard oversees the development and delivery of Symark's University Training Program in providing customer support to global enterprise customers.

Comments (5) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
Sumit 01/03/06 04:55:08 PM EST

How is article in anyway related to open source?

Information Storage & Security Journal News Desk 11/10/05 01:10:35 PM EST

Information security is a top priority for many companies. Protecting information from external threats such as hackers, viruses, and spam, as well as governmental regulation requirements (SOX, HIPAA, NISPOM, etc.), are driving IT purchases beyond ROI as C-level executives seek to assure shareholders (and themselves) that assets are secure within the company complex. Viewed as today's growth market, many software/hardware/service companies are creating offerings to mitigate perceived risk or actual liability.

Enterprise Open Source Magazine News Desk 11/10/05 11:40:49 AM EST

Designing and Implementing a Security Architecture. Information security is a top priority for many companies. Protecting information from external threats such as hackers, viruses, and spam, as well as governmental regulation requirements (SOX, HIPAA, NISPOM, etc.), are driving IT purchases beyond ROI as C-level executives seek to assure shareholders (and themselves) that assets are secure within the company complex. Viewed as today's growth market, many software/hardware/service companies are creating offerings to mitigate perceived risk or actual liability.

queZZtion 11/04/05 08:01:30 AM EST

{{{governmental regulation requirements (SOX, HIPAA, NISPOM, etc.)}}}

Are there any good online resources on these, on SoX for examle?

BadM 11/04/05 06:08:46 AM EST

}}} reliable and correct delivery of information on your LAN or WAN is no longer guaranteed via TCP/IP, with address spoofing and snooping available to anyone on your network {{{

How true. Sadly.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
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...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
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...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
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 smar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.