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SAMM - Operational Enablement - 3

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Operational Enablement - 3

Objective: Mandate communication of security information and validate artifacts for completeness


  • Organization-wide understanding of expectations for security-relevant documentation
  • Stakeholders better able to make tradeoff decisions based on feedback from deployment and operations
  • Operators and/or users able to independently verify integrity of software releases

Add’l Success Metrics

  • >80% of projects with updated operational security guide in last 6 months
  • >80% of stakeholders briefed on code signing options and status in past 6 months

Add’l Costs

  • Ongoing project overhead from audit of operational guides
  • Ongoing organization overhead from management of code signing credentials
  • Ongoing project overhead from identification and signing of code modules.

Add’l Personnel

  • Developers (1 days/yr)
  • Architects (1 days/yr)
  • Managers (1 days/yr)
  • Security Auditors (1-2 days/yr)

Related Levels


A. Expand audit program for operational information

When conducting routine project-level audits, expand the review to include inspection of artifacts related to operational enablement for security. Projects should be checked to ensure they have an updated and complete operational security guides as relevant to the specifics of the software.

These audits should begin toward the end of the development cycle close to release, but must be completed and passed before a release can be made. For legacy systems or inactive projects, this type of audit should be conducted and a one-time effort should be made to address findings and verify audit compliance, after which additional audits for operational enablement are no longer required.

Audit results must be reviewed with business stakeholders prior to release. An exception process should be created to allow projects failing an audit to continue with a release, but these projects should have a concrete timeline for mitigation of findings. Exceptions should be limited to no more that 20% of all active projects.

B. Perform code signing for application components

Though often used with special-purpose software, code signing allows users and operators to perform integrity checks on software such that they can cryptographically verify the authenticity of a module or release. By signing software modules, the project team enables deployments to operate with a greater degree of assurance against any corruption or modification of the deployed software in its operating environment.

Signing code incurs overhead for management of signing credentials for the organization. An organization must follow safe key management processes to ensure the ongoing confidentiality of the signing keys. When dealing with any cryptographic keys, project stakeholders must also consider plans for dealing with common operational problems related to cryptography such as key rotation, key compromise, or key loss.

Since code signing is not appropriate for everything, architects and developers should work with security auditors and business stakeholders to determine which parts of the software should be signed. As projects evolve, this list should be reviewed with each release, especially when adding new modules or making changes to previously signed components.

Additional Resources