Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Oracle Solutions supporting ICAM deployments

The ICAM architecture has become the predominant security architecture for government organizations.  A growing number of federal, state, and local organizations are in various stages of using Oracle ICAM solutions.  The relevance of ICAM has clearly extended beyond the Federal ICAM mandates to any government program that must enable standards based interoperability like health exchanges and public safety.  The state government endorsed version of ICAM was just released with the NASCIO SICAM Roadmap.

ICAM solutions require an integrated security architecture.  The major new release in August of Oracle Identity Management 11gR2 focuses on a platform approach to identity management.  This makes it easier for government organizations to acquire and implement a comprehensive ICAM solution, rather than individual products.  The following analysts reports describe the value of the Oracle Solutions:

  • According to The Aberdeen Group:  “Organizations can save up to 48% deploying a platform of  (identity management) solutions when compared to deploying point solutions”
  • IDC Product Flash, July 2012:  “Oracle may have hit the home run grand slam in identity management recently with the announcement of Oracle Identity Management 11g R2."
For additional information on the Oracle ICAM solutions, attend the Webcast on October 10, 2012:  ICAM Framework for Enabling Agile, Service Delivery.

Visit the Oracle Secure Government Resource Center for information on enterprise security solutions that help government safeguard information, resources and networks.

Oracle Open World / Public Sector / Identity Platform

Oracle Open World Registration

For those attending Oracle Open World (Oct. 1st - 3rd, 2012 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco), the following details are recommended:  OOW Focus on Public Sector.

Also, Oracle's foundational Identity and Access Management and Database Security products that support government security ICAM solutions are covered extensively during the event, the following will be available:

The focus is on Oracle's Modern Identity Management Platform.  

  • Integrated Identity Governance
  • Mobile Access Management
  • Complete Access Management
  • Low Risk Upgrades

The options for attendees include 18 sessions for Identity and Access Management, 9 Identity and Access Management demonstration topics at the Identity Management Demo Grounds, and 2 hands on labs, as well as 21 database security sessions.

Oracle Public Sector Reception at OOW:  Join Oracle's Public Sector team on Monday, October 1 for a night of food and sports in a casual setting at Jillian’s, adjacent to Moscone Center on Fourth Street. In addition to meeting the Public Sector team, you can enjoy Monday Night Football on several big screen TVs in a fun sports atmosphere.

  • When: Monday, October 1, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
  • Where: Jillian's, 101 Fourth Street, San Francisco 

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Database Security: The Need for a Comprehensive Strategy

The year was 73 AD. During the First Jewish-Roman war, Jewish rebels and their families took refuge on a tall mesa, known as Masada, between the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea Valley.

Months into the siege, Roman forces built an assault ramp to the top of the butte. Once the ramp reached the top, Roman forces easily breached the defenses of Masada, finding all the Jewish inhabitants had committed suicide. The forbidding nature of mesa and some perimeter walls along the edges were all that separated the inhabitants from their attackers. Once that line was breached,there were no further defenses in place to stop the advance of the Roman forces.

What does the first century siege of Masada tell us about data security? Plenty, as it turns out.

Masada provides a good example of the benefit of a defense-in-depth approach to security. Defense-in-depth is an approach to security that provides multiple levels of protection that seeks to delay attacks in order to buy more time in defending against them. It involves multiple layers of security controls, providing redundancy and protection in the event of a single control failing. At each security level, controls and warning mechanisms can be deployed to provide detection and response to a given attack. Masada was clearly lacking a defense-in-depth strategy.

Like Masada, most IT organizations lack an in-depth strategy to secure their data. As many recent, well-publicized data breaches have shown, perimeter (network) security is clearly not enough to preventing data breaches.

IT organizations must deploy a defense-in-depth strategy to fully protect themselves against the multitude of threat vectors facing them today.


An effective, in-depth approach will include perimeter security as the first line of defense against attack, but will also include other controls such as auditing, access control, data encryption, and data masking.

In subsequent blog entries these controls will be discussed in further detail. Together these controls can be employed together to provide a complete defense-in-depth data strategy to ensure your data are fully protected. Learn the lesson that Masada teaches us. Perimeter security, while important, should not be your only line of defense.

Thursday Oct 27, 2011

SICAM: Privacy and the Golden Record

Addressing the privacy considerations associated with the use of the "Golden Record" in a SICAM architecture.[Read More]

Saturday Sep 03, 2011

SICAM: SICAM Component Architecture

When I first started contributing State Identity Credential Access Management (SICAM) content last year, I didn’t get too far into the discussion before trying to spell out what the key value props are for organizations heading down that path. Meeting conditional funding requirements, complying with state/federal mandates, eliminating benefits fraud, streamlining process…all those initiatives benefit from SICAM’s single, trusted view of identity. That notion of a “single view of the individual”, that “this Jane Doe is the right Jane Doe, the same Jane Doe as I look from system to system and department to department”, is sometimes referred to as the “Golden Record” for that person. The need for data quality and identity resolution makes Master Data Management (MDM) a necessary component in a SICAM architecture.

Figure:  SICAM Component Architecture

The component architecture is really born more out of policy requirements than technology dependencies. Taking one more look at my comments on Public Sector policy drivers for SICAM, we can see how each of these components works into the mix:

  • MDM provides the aforementioned identity resolution, data quality, and single-view of individuals (in many ways like a primary key/foreign key relationship, only here between systems and identity repositories.)
  • Once we understand our relationship to (or “single view” of) an individual we leverage any number of Credentialing techniques to communicate and assure that relationship in the form of a token or artifact.[i] Depending on the level of trust in any given identity, or required for authentication, different credentials (certificates, smart cards, one time passwords, knowledge based authentication, etc.) can provide different levels of identity assurance that scale to the different security needs and requirements of grant initiatives, compliance mandates, and reporting specifications.
  • Identity and Access Management tools manage and honor those identities and credentials in a manner that allows interoperability across systems and domains without impeding their use in systems of origin.
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) provides the common standards and infrastructure for rapid deployment and consumption of interoperable services across departments, agencies, states, municipalities, etc.
  • One of the primary drivers for adopting a SICAM infrastructure is to enable a collaborative Business Intelligence reporting platform.[ii] SICAM acts as an interoperability layer that allows departments to report on (often regulated and sensitive) data without co-mingling and sharing of raw backend data that would violate compliance mandates and law.[iii]
  • And finally a Portal Interface for presentation.

Typically my writings are on the Identity Management and Security side of the SICAM equation, but over the next couple of posts I’d like to delve into some important discussions around the MDM area of the component architecture. Recently I’ve had several great discussions in the field around the legal, privacy, and security ramifications of the MDM/Identity Resolution piece of SICAM that are worth sharing. With this discussion of SICAM components as background, I’ll delve in next time with some frequent questions and considerations around the care and feeding of the “SICAM Golden Record.”



[i] See NIST’s Special Publication 800-103 for an Ontology of Identity Credentials

[ii] See data sharing and reporting requirements for initiatives like Education’s State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants and Health and Human Service’s National Health Information Network (NHIN)

[iii] Again, drawing from SLDS and NHIN, student performance data and personal health information are strictly regulated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH, see also HIPAA) respectively.

Monday Jun 27, 2011

NSTIC Next Steps

Today and tomorrow, we'll see our next steps in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) governance roadmap as NIST hosts the NSTIC Privacy Workshop at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA.  I’m here live but the proceedings are already underway and you can tune in remotely to the webcast here. Questions can also be lobbed in via the Tweetosphere at #NSTIC.

Thursday Jun 09, 2011

NSTIC Notes (UPDATE) - Commerce NOI Hits the Street

Update to NSTIC Notes about the first NSTIC Governance Workshop:  Summary of Dept of Commerce Notice of Inquiry (NOI)[Read More]
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