SAMM - Design Review - 2

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Design Review - 2

Objective: Offer assessment services to review software design against comprehensive best practices for security

Results

  • Formally offered assessment service to consistently review architecture for security
  • Pinpoint security flaws in maintenance-mode and legacy systems
  • Deeper understanding amongst project stakeholders on how the software provides assurance protections

Add’l Success Metrics

  • >80% of stakeholders briefed on status of review requests in past 6 months
  • >75% of projects undergoing design review in past 12 months

Add’l Costs

  • Buildout, training, and maintenance of design review team
  • Ongoing project overhead from review activities

Add’l Personnel

  • Architects (1-2 days/yr)
  • Developers (1 day/yr)
  • Managers (1 day/yr)
  • Security Auditors (2-3 days/yr)

Related Levels

  • Education & Guidance - 2
  • Strategy & Metrics - 2

Activities

A. Inspect for complete provision of security mechanisms

For each interface on a module in the high-level architecture diagram, formally iterate through the list of security mechanisms and analyze the system for their provision. This type of analysis should be performed on both internal interfaces, e.g. between tiers, as well as external ones, e.g. those comprising the attack surface.

The six main security mechanisms to consider are authentication, authorization, input validation, output encoding, error handling and logging. Where relevant, also consider the mechanisms of cryptography and session management. For each interface, determine where in the system design each mechanism is provided and note any missing or unclear features as findings.

This analysis should be conducted by security-savvy staff with assistance from the project team for application-specific knowledge. This analysis should be performed once per release, usually toward the end of the design phase. After initial analysis, subsequent releases are required to update the findings based on changes being made during the development cycle.

B. Deploy design review service for project teams

Institute a process whereby project stakeholders can request a design review. This service may be provided centrally within the organization or distributed across existing staff, but all reviewers must be trained on performing the reviews completely and consistently.

The review service should be centrally managed in that the review request queue should be triaged by senior managers, architects, and stakeholders that are familiar with the overall business risk profile for the organization. This allows prioritization of project reviews in alignment with overall business risk.

During a design review, the review team should work with project teams to collect information sufficient to formulate an understanding of the attack surface, match project-specific security requirements to design elements, and verify security mechanisms at module interfaces.






Additional Resources