Governance vs Management

IT security governance is the system by which an organization directs and controls IT security (adapted from ISO 38500).

IT security governance should not be confused with IT security management. IT security management is concerned with making decisions to mitigate risks; governance determines who is authorized to make decisions.

Governance specifies the accountability framework and provides oversight to ensure that risks are adequately mitigated, while management ensures that controls are implemented to mitigate risks. Management recommends security strategies. Governance ensures that security strategies are aligned with business objectives and consistent with regulations.

NIST describes IT governance as the process of establishing and maintaining a framework

  1. to provide assurance that information security strategies are aligned with and support business objectives, (alignment)
  2. are consistent with applicable laws and regulations through adherence to policies and internal controls, (compliance)
  3. and provide assignment of responsibility, all in an effort to manage risk. (accountability)

Enterprise security governance results from the duty of care owed by leadership towards fiduciary requirements. This position is based on judicial rationale and reasonable standards of care. The five general governance areas are:

  1. Govern the operations of the organization and protect its critical assets
  2. Protect the organization’s market share and stock price (perhaps not appropriate for education)
  3. Govern the conduct of employees (educational AUP and other policies that may apply to use of technology resources, data handling, etc.)
  4. Protect the reputation of the organization
  5. Ensure compliance requirements are met

“Governing for enterprise security means viewing adequate security as a non-negotiable requirement of being in business.”

Governance is doing the right thing, while management is doing things right.



Oversight Implementation
Authorizes decision rights Authorized to make decisions (empowered)
Enact policy Enforce policy
Accountability Responsibility
Strategic planning Project planning
Resource allocation Resource utilization

Source: Information Security Governance


Physical Security

The purpose of physical security is to protect against physical threats. The following physical threats are among the most common:

  • fire and smoke, water (rising/ falling),
  • earth movement (earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes),
  • storms (wind, lightning, rain, snow, sleet, ice),
  • sabotage/ vandalism,
  • explosion/destruction,
  • building collapse,
  • toxic materials,
  • utility loss (power, heating, cooling, air, water),
  • equipment failure,
  • theft,
  • and personnel loss (strikes, illness, access, transport).

Security Engineering

Security Engineering is a discipline to protect organizational assets with a solution of secure architectural design from being harmed by threats from attackers through vulnerabilities.

  • Security
    • Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) from external forces.
  • Engineering
    • Engineering is the creative application of science, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations.
  • Security Engineering
    • Security engineering is a specialized field of engineering that focuses on the security aspects in the design of systems that need to be able to deal robustly with possible sources of disruption, ranging from natural disasters to malicious acts.
  • Design
    • Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams, and sewing patterns).



The (ISC)² CBK

The (ISC)² CBK

  • A CBK – sometimes simply called a Body of Knowledge – refers to a peer-developed compendium of what a competent professional in their respective field must know, including the skills, techniques and practices that are routinely employed.1
  • The (ISC)² CBK is a collection of topics relevant to cybersecurity professionals around the world. It establishes a common framework of information security terms and principles which enables cybersecurity and IT/ICT professionals worldwide to discuss, debate and resolve matters pertaining to the profession with a common understanding, taxonomy and lexicon.
  • (ISC)² was established, in part, to aggregate, standardize and maintain the (ISC)² CBK for security professionals worldwide. Domains from the (ISC)² credentials are drawn from various topics within the (ISC)² CBK, which are used to assess a candidate’s level of mastery of the most critical aspects of information security.
  • The (ISC)² CBK is updated annually by the (ISC)² CBK Committee to reflect the most current and relevant topics required to practice the profession.

Certification subject matter

From 15 April 2018, the CISSP curriculum is updated as follows:[10]

  1. Security and Risk Management
    • Fundamentals
      • Clear defined goals
      • Know what to protect: at rest, in transit and while processing
      • Everything must be balanced: business needs vs CIA, accountability, and Assurance
      • Accountability: who did it, non-repudiation and legal consequences
      • Assurance: how do we know if our systems are secure and functioning as intended
    • The CIA Triad
      • Confidentiality
      • Availability
      • Integrity
    • Control Types
      • Physical
      • Technical
      • Administrative
    • Delaying, Preventing, and Detecting
    • Due Care and Due Diligence
      • Due Care: knowing what the right thing is, then doing what is right
      • Due Diligence:
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

From 2015 to early 2018, the CISSP curriculum is divided into eight domains similar to the latest curriculum above.

Before 2015, it covered ten similar domains.

Security Clearance

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information (state or organizational secrets) or to restricted areas, after completion of a thorough background check.

The term “security clearance” is also sometimes used in private organizations that have a formal process to vet employees for access to sensitive information. A clearance by itself is normally not sufficient to gain access; the organization must also determine that the cleared individual needs to know specific information. No one is supposed to be granted automatic access to classified information solely because of rank, position, or a security clearance.

Need, Requirement, and Solution

  • A solution addresses a requirement; a requirement addresses a need
  • Requirement Types
    • Business Requirements
    • Stakeholder Requirements
    • Solution Requirements

PBA Tools and Techniques

Example Hierarchy from Goals to Business Cases

  • Goals and Objectives
    • Corporate strategies translate goals identified in business plans into actionable plans and objectives.
    • Goals are typically broad-based and may span one or more years. (organization or strategy level, long-term)
    • Objectives, on the other hand, are used to enable goals; these are more specific and tend to be of shorter term than goals, often with duration of 1 year or less. (project or tactical level, short-team/less than 1 year)
    • Objectives describe business value; requirements describe how to achieve it.
  • Problem Analysis
    • the first step of problem analysis is to clarify the need by finding the root cause.
    • the second step is describing the problem or situation so everyone in the organization sees the need in the same way.
    • fishbone & five why
    • Situation Statement
      • a clear, agreed-upon business need is the foundation of the entire project.
      • creating a situation statement is a way to get consensus on the business need.
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Job Analysis
    • used to identity the job requirements and competencies required to perform effectively in a specific job or role
  • Decomposition Model (aka decomposition diagram)
    • Business Analysis: used to identify business analysis tasks, activities, and deliverables by detailing out the business analysis work.
    • Stakeholder Analysis: used to analyze the organization with the goal of discovering stakeholder groups.
    • IT Projects: to break down solutions into solution components to further understand their features.
  • Solution Evaluation Metrics and Acceptance Criteria
    • Business goals and objectives
    • Key Performance Indicators
      • Customer Metrics
      • Sales and Marketing Metrics
      • Operational Metrics
      • Functionality
  • Measurable Acceptance Criteria
    • nonfunctional requirements
    • service-level agreement
  • Evaluation Techniques
    • Surveys and focus group
    • Results from exploratory testing and user acceptance testing
    • Results from day-in-the-life (DITL) testing
    • Results from integration testing
    • Expected vs actual results for functionality
    • Expected vs actual results for nonfunctionality requirements
    • Outcome measurements and financial calculation of benefits