Q

Is the Orange Book still relevant for assessing security controls?

Is the Orange Book still the be-all and end-all for assessing security controls in the enterprise? Security management expert Mike Rothman explains what happened to the Orange Book, and the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation that replaced it.

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Is the Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC) still a relevant set of criteria for assessing security controls in the enterprise? For instance, is it useful in securing a system using VMware? And to what extent should most infosec pros today be familiar with the "Orange book?"
The Orange Book, which is the nickname for the Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC), was superseded by the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation as of 2005, so there isn't much point in continuing to focus on the Orange Book, though the general topics laid out in it (policy, accountability, audit and documentation) are still key pieces of any security program and/or framework.

New security professionals are best suited to focus on a timely framework like Common Criteria, ISO 27001/2 or COBIT, depending on which systems they will be evaluated against in practice. In terms of new platforms like VMware, there's more leverage in working with a currently accepted framework of controls that can be used for assessments in the here and now.

More information:

  • Learn how to use VMware for malware analysis.
  • COSO and COBIT are valuable compliance frameworks for SOX. Read more.

This was first published in July 2008

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