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Revision as of 23:46, 2 May 2009

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Operational Enablement - 2

Objective: Improve expectations for continuous secure operations through provision of detailed procedures


  • Detailed guidance for security-relevant changes delivered with software releases
  • Updated information repository on secure operating procedures per application
  • Alignment of operations expectations among developers, operators, and users.

Add’l Success Metrics

  • >50% of projects with updated change management procedures in past 6 months
  • >80% of stakeholders briefed on status of operational security guides in past 6 months

Add’l Costs

  • Ongoing project overhead from maintenance of change management procedures
  • Ongoing project overhead from maintenance of operational security guides

Add’l Personnel

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

Related Levels

  • Environment Hardening - 1


A. Create per-release change management procedures

To more formally update users and operators on relevant changes in the software, each release must include change management procedures relevant to upgrade and first-time installation. Overall, the goal is to capture the expected accompanying steps that ensure the deployment will be successful and not incur excessive downtime or degradation of security posture.

To build these procedures during development, the project teams should setup a lightweight internal process for capturing relevant items that would impact deployments. It is effective to have this process in place early in the development cycle so that this information can be retained as soon as it is identified while in the requirements, design, and implementation phases.

Before each release, the project team should review the list as a whole for completeness and feasibility. For some projects, extensive change procedures accompanying a given release may warrant special handling, such as building automated upgrade scripts to prevent errors during deployment.

B. Maintain formal operational security guides

Starting from the information captured on critical software events and the procedures for handling each, project teams should build and maintain formal guides that capture all the security-relevant information that users and operators need to know.

Initially, this guide should be built from the known information about the system, such as security-related configuration options, event handling procedures, installation and upgrade guides, operational environment specifications, security-related assumptions about the deployment environment, etc. Extending this, the formal operational security guide should elaborate on each of these to cover more details such that the majority of the users and operators will be informed for all the questions they might have had. For large or complex systems, this can be challenging, so project teams should work with business stakeholders to determine the appropriate level of documentation. Additionally, project teams should document any recommendations for deployments that would enhance security.

The operational security guide, after initial creation, should be reviewed by project teams and updated with each release.

Additional Resources