Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/21/2012
11:57 AM
Gunnar Peterson
Gunnar Peterson
Commentary
50%
50%

Launching An IAM Project: Where To Start

How to think architecture-centric, not audit-centric, in identity and access

In my last blog post, we looked at some of the hazards in identity and access management (IAM) projects. Specifically, most IAM project initiatives are created from a very dangerous place -- the auditor's spreadsheet.

Audit plays an important role, but blindly following an audit report into large-scale IAM "suite" (in name only) deployment, can result in seven-figure disappointment and hinder career upside.

IAM efforts should be architecture-centric, not audit-centric. Audit is an input to architecture, but IAM architecture focuses on assets, risk, standards, and integration -- how to deliver on the requirements in a real-world system, not simply completing the audit Checkbox Olympics.

The value of an architecture-centric approach to IAM is clear, but the next question becomes: What processes can be used to get there? Outside of specialty consulting groups, there are limited options for industry-standard IAM design, development, and deployment processes.

As IAM matures, this will likely change much the same way secure coding has been progressively baked into the Software Development Lifecycle. Enterprises now have a number of choices, such as BSIMM and Microsoft's SDL, that offer concrete ideas, guidance, and sequencing on improving security in code.

IAM faces similar challenges to those who drove the movement to BSIMM and SDL, but the IAM space lacks a "you go in A, you come out Z" cohesive approach to delivering IAM in real-world systems.

So while there is not a fully baked IAM process out and available, there are some starting points to consider. Taking an architecture-centric approach to IAM means starting with, wait for it, architecture. There are several sources to consider, including The Open Group Enterprise Security Architecture, which covers much of the core territory for IAM architects to design and plan for.

Delivering on architecture is the next pressing challenge, and here the work from BSIMM on software security is instructive. BSIMM's framework has four main categories: Governance, Intelligence, SSDL Touchpoints, and Deployment. Each of these has a direct implications for the IAM project life cycle:

  • Governance: As previously discussed, compliance is one of the main drivers of IAM efforts, but an architecture cannot live by compliance alone. Strategy is required to make sure the IAM efforts align with enterprise goals and priorities, and that long-term impacts of new teams for IAM design and ops are factored in.

  • Intelligence: In BSIMM terms, IAM is a "security feature," but the standards and security behind these features require very careful design and testing. Mistakes made here cascade across the system.

  • SSDL: This part covers architecture analysis, code review, and testing. Most IAM efforts are a mix of buy and build, but this step should not be skipped. It's the key to achieving integration

  • Deployment: Penetration testing, vulnerability management, and related deployment concerns are likewise of paramount importance for IAM efforts. IAM vendors' PowerPoint does not crash, but their implementations do. This process step closes the loop from concept to reality.

In conclusion, BSIMM's focus on software security is not a one-for-one for IAM's top concerns; it's missing some areas, such as operations that are important for IAM efforts. BSIMM requires some adaptation to be useful in IAM, but most of the core bits required to get a successful IAM project up and running are present in BSIMM. Hybrids are the strongest plants in nature. If you're starting an IAM project now and need a framework to adapt for IAM, I would recommend starting with BSIMM.

Gunnar Peterson is a Managing Principal at Arctec Group Gunnar Peterson (@oneraindrop) works on AppSec - Cloud, Mobile and Identity. He maintains a blog at http://1raindrop.typepad.com. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Jay O'Donnell
50%
50%
Jay O'Donnell,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2012 | 8:06:05 PM
re: Launching An IAM Project: Where To Start


Thanks
Gunnar for the great read - It is true that compliance plays a leading role in
IAM efforts. IAM has evolved from an IT mandate to an enterprise imperative. N8
Identity's Employee Lifecycle Manager-(ELMG) ensures compliance by tracking employees
from their first day to their last day, including any changes in responsibility
that happen in between. The compliance module of ELM makes compliance reporting
simple and straightforward. Learn more here: http://n8id.com/our-offering/e...
Cloud Security Threats for 2021
Or Azarzar, CTO & Co-Founder of Lightspin,  12/3/2020
Why Vulnerable Code Is Shipped Knowingly
Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer, Veracode,  11/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27772
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in coders/bmp.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned int`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but could po...
CVE-2020-27773
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/gem-private.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned char` or division by zero. This would most likely lead to an impact to appli...
CVE-2020-28950
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
The installer of Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool (KART) prior to KART 4.0 Patch C was vulnerable to a DLL hijacking attack that allowed an attacker to elevate privileges during installation process.
CVE-2020-27774
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/statistic.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of a too large shift for 64-bit type `ssize_t`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but co...
CVE-2020-27775
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/quantum.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type unsigned char. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but c...