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Drag Your Adolescent Incident-Response Program Into Adulthood
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User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2014 | 4:25:47 PM
Re: Deliverables and Checklists vs Actual Living Functions

Mr. Bryant

I'd first like to establish what we are talking about in terms of maturity, audit vs assessment, etc. 

The intent of how we understand a client's maturity is NOT what we would call an audit.  That implies there is a checklist, and then you could pass or fail. An audit also implies the behavior you site of "managing to the audit" versus "becoming more secure" (like the grade inflation we have experienced in US schools).  We are suggesting an assessment(s) of current state against a backdrop of maturity and capability (take another look at the table). 

Maturity is loosely tied to CMMI in a sense that it has been an industry-accepted term/framework for some time.  It is intuitive to think about current state of security maturity and capability in terms of "reactive, compliant, proactive, optimizing", but you could really use any version of this to achieve what we are suggesting.  I have seen other maturity models that reference levels of capability versus state (i.e. No capability, Some capability, etc.).  We are NOT suggesting a CMMI "roll out".

I've expanded on some of these concepts in my recent Dark Reading for Intel Security Perspectives blog - please read "What We Mean by Maturity Models for Security" for additional clarity.


User Rank: Ninja
11/3/2014 | 11:01:28 PM
Deliverables and Checklists vs Actual Living Functions
I appreciate mature models, well-designed processes and formal standards; I swear, I really do.  But after being a part of attempt after attempt at CMMI rollout, eyes on the Level X prize, I kept seeing the same thing happen:  Passing the audit became the deliverable and thus artifacts emerged to satisfy the audits up to a point, then the Level X goal slowly disappeared.  I appreciate Common Criteria and its EALs (Evaluation Assurance Levels) but I've seen via hearsay similar things happen to CC, too - you can only produce artifacts up to a point before you have to have a well-oiled process with demonstrable benefits.

Now, downer attitude aside, there is Agile and Lean.  By no means am I a process-oriented thinker (not that I didn't try).  I believe in taking your skill-set and diving head-first into chaos, greeting it with a combat mentality, and keeping things fresh by changing the game completely the next go-round.  But if there must be maturity and formality to security risk assessment, analysis and continuous lifecycle improvement, maybe there's a middle ground that the businessmen, architects and hackers can meet on.  What you've described here is great and a noble goal, but what would it look like trimmed a tad, and modeled for both hacker and process-geek alike?  

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