SAMM - Design Review - 3
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Objective: Require assessments and validate artifacts to develop detailed understanding of protection mechanisms
- Granular view of weak points in a system design to encourage better compartmentalization
- Organization-level awareness of project standing against baseline security expectations for architecture
- Comparisons between projects for efficiency and progress toward mitigating known flaws
Add’l Success Metrics
- >80% of projects with updated data-flow diagrams in past 6 months
- >75% of projects passing design review audit in past 6 months
- Ongoing project overhead from maintenance of data-flow diagrams
- Organization overhead from project delays caused by failed design review audits
- Developers (2 days/yr)
- Architects (1 day/yr)
- Managers (1-2 days/yr)
- Business Owners (1-2 days/yr)
- Security Auditors (2-3 days/yr)
- Secure Architecture - 3
- Code Review - 3
A. Develop data-flow diagrams for sensitive resources
Based on the business function of the software project, conduct analysis to identify details on system behavior around high-risk functionality. Typically, high-risk functionality will correlate to features implementing creation, access, update, and deletion of sensitive data. Beyond data, high-risk functionality also includes project-specific business logic that is critical in nature, either from a denial-of-service or compromise perspective.
For each identified data source or business function, select and use a standardized notation to capture relevant software modules, data sources, actors, and messages that flow amongst them. It is often helpful to start with a high-level design diagram and iteratively flesh out relevant detail while removing elements that do not correspond to the sensitive resource.
With data-flow diagrams created for a project, conduct analysis over them to determine internal choke-points in the design. Generally, these will be individual software modules that handle data with differing sensitivity levels or those that gate access to several business functions of various levels of business criticality.
B. Establish release gates for design review
Having established a consistent design review program, the next step of enforcement is to set a particular point in the software development life-cycle where a project cannot pass until an design review is conducted and findings are reviewed and accepted. In order to accomplish this, a baseline level of expectations should be set, e.g. no projects with any high-severity findings will be allowed to pass and all other findings must be accepted by the business owner.
Generally, design reviews should occur toward the end of the design phase to aide early detection of security issues, but it must occur before releases can be made from the project team.
For legacy systems or inactive projects, an exception process should be created to allow those projects to continue operations, but with an explicitly assigned timeframe for each to be reviewed to illuminate any hidden vulnerabilities in the existing systems. Exceptions for should be limited to no more than 20% of all projects.