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Information Inventory, Classification, and BCP
From: James Moore <jhmiso () RIT EDU>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 17:40:26 -0500



You have a more granular approach than we do.  I included operationally
critical, as a category late in the standards cycle at the suggestion of
Theresa Rowe of Oakland University.


You can see what we did at http://security.rit.edu/iap.html   (These
things are on their way to the Educause archive, I don't know if they
have made it yet).





From: Brad Judy [mailto:Brad.Judy () COLORADO EDU] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information
Security Office


Yes, I consider an asset inventory that includes service criticality and
data sensitivity to be a prerequisite to any good business continuity
plan or risk assessment.  


We'll be starting a push on asset inventory and classification on our
campus soon to try and get all departments to make sure they have given
thought to this matter and created an asset inventory.  


For those who are curious, you can see our IT asset inventory and
classification guidance document here:


It uses criticality and sensitivity language defined in university
system-wide policy and hopefully will become commonly understood across
all of our campuses (it's a new policy, so the common terms are just
getting off the ground now).  


On a side note, I'm still musing on how to best collect, aggregate and
make accessible the type of criticality and dependency information that
one collects in business continuity planning.  I'm keeping an eye on the
new BCP list to see what options might be out there, particularly for
tracking dependencies and chained criticality.  


Brad Judy





From: Lovaas,Steven R [mailto:Steven.Lovaas () COLOSTATE EDU] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information
Security Office

Good discussions so far on this.


A useful approach is to look at continuity planning not from the
perspective of individual disasters or occurences, but to analyze which
processes/pieces of your organization are critical.


So, rather than imagining what would happen if a tornado hit your server
room, consider which applications are mission-critical and categorize
them in terms of how long they can be down and have business still
function. Once you have a grid of criticality and
downtime-survivability, then you can plan for outages no matter what
causes them.




Steven Lovaas, MSIA, CISSP
Network Security Manager
Academic Computing & Network Services
Colorado State University
Steven.Lovaas () ColoState EDU




From: James Moore [mailto:jhmiso () RIT EDU] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information
Security Office

Brad raises a good issue that is part of the bigger picture of BCP for a
university, at least our university.  


We have a lot of small groups.  We are more like a city.  Sometimes, key
people have no backup.  It seems that we live with a lot of aggregate
risk coming from the wide range of functions supported.  My guess is
that most of the time, there has been some conscious or unconscious
decision to allow significant impact to segments of business function,
as opposed to moderate impact to general business functions (i.e.
benefits of specialization are high, all specializations will not be
lost simultaneously = most customers happy, most of the time).  This of
course means that processes and infrastructure must be analyzed
carefully for single points of failure.


But, musings aside, Brad, thank you for your analysis.  I am definitely
using it.







From: Brad Judy [mailto:Brad.Judy () COLORADO EDU] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information
Security Office


I want to toss in a reminder here that while it is important to plan for
possible larger scale events, it is also important to plan for the more
common small scale events.  Too often in IT and higher ed (particularly
after Katrina et al), large scale plans are developed and plans for
smaller scale common events are not.  


The reality for most IT security offices (and many groups in general) is
that the most likely business continuity scenario is the abrupt loss of
a key staff member (via job departure, illness, lottery winnings, etc).
Most security offices are small groups and the loss of a single staff
member might amount to an immediate 50% loss in capabilities of the


Naturally, security offices are also at least partially reliant on
technology assets, so the loss of assets should be addressed as well.  


With some good attention on BCP right now, I'd hate to see focus only on
the large scale events and have folks fail to document procedures or
policy for smaller scale events.  I'm putting together a list of basic
common scenarios that I think every IT group on our campus should have a
plan to address in addition to their large scale event plans.  


Brad Judy


IT Security Office

Information Technology Services

University of Colorado at Boulder



From: James Moore [mailto:jhmiso () RIT EDU] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 3:44 PM
Subject: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information
Security Office

I admit that my own business continuity plans were on my "to do" list
for longer than I would like.    Does anyone have or know of a template
that I can start with for business continuity planning of the
Information Security Office.


The easy thing is to say that we have to do the same things that we
always do, but differently.


Risk Assessment - Only a subset of functionality will come back on line.
Some will have been reviewed for risk, and others not.  There will have
to be some dynamic risk assessment.


Communications - The natural thing to do is to relax security in the
different environment so that as much functionality as possible can be
achieved.  Users find allies, etc.  Communications will need to
integrate with Business Continuity communications, but still will have a
role to guide people to safe business resumption.  Communications to
executive leadership is also regular, but concentrates on service


Budgets / Administrative - Need to continue, as resources are available.


Strategic - May be for rebuilding.  Or may shift to standards
enforcement for existing standards.


Investigations / Forensics - Needed for when things go wrong, and are


This is a high level.  And what I wondered is if anyone had a detailed
business continuity plan for their office/role.





- - - -
Jim Moore, CISSP, IAM
Information Security Officer
Rochester Institute of Technology
13 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
(585) 475-5406 (office)
(585) 475-4122 (lab)
(585) 475-7950 (fax)

"We will have a chance when we are as efficient at communicating
information security best practices, as hackers and criminals are at
sharing attack information"  - Peter Presidio


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