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SAMM - Environment Hardening - 1

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Environment Hardening - 1

Objective: Understand baseline operational environment for applications and software components


  • Clear understanding of operational expectations within the development team
  • High-priority risks from underlying infrastructure mitigated on a well-understood timeline
  • Software operators with a high-level plan for security-critical maintenance of infrastructure

Success Metrics

  • >50% project with updated operational environment specification in past 6 months
  • >50% of projects with updated list of relevant critical security patches in past 6 months


  • Ongoing project overhead from buildout and maintenance of operational environment specification
  • Ongoing project overhead from monitoring and installing critical security updates


  • Developers (1-2 day/yr)
  • Architects (1-2 day/yr)
  • Managers (2-4 day/yr)
  • Support/Operators (3-4 days/yr)

Related Levels

  • Operational Enablement - 2


A. Maintain operational environment specification

For each project, a concrete definition of the expected operating platforms should be created and maintained. Depending on the organization, this specification should be jointly created with development staff, stakeholders, support and operations groups, etc.

Begin this specification should by capturing all details that must be true about the operating environment based upon the business function of the software. These can include factors such as processor architecture, operating system versions, prerequisite software, conflicting software, etc. Further, note any known user or operator configurable options about the operating environment that affect the way in which the software will behave.

Additionally, identify any relevant assumptions about the operating environment that were made in design and implementation of the project and capture those assumptions in the specification.

This specification should be reviewed and updated at least every 6 months for active projects or more often if changes are being made to the software design or the expected operating environment.

B. Identify and install critical security upgrades and patches

Most applications are software that runs on top of another large stack of software composed of built-in programming language libraries, third-party components and development frameworks, base operating systems, etc. Because security flaws contained in any module in that large software stack affect the overall security of the organization’s software, critical security updates for elements of the technology stack must be installed.

As such, regular research or ongoing monitoring of high-risk dependencies should be performed to stay abreast of the latest fixes to security flaws. Upon identification of a critical upgrade or patch that would impact the security posture of the software project, plans should be made to get affected users and operators to update their installations. Depending on the type of software project, details on doing this can vary.

Additional Resources