NSO Quant: Manage Process Metrics, Part 1

We realized last week that we may have hit the saturation point for activity on the blog. Right now we have three ongoing blog series and NSO Quant. All our series post a few times a week, and Quant can be up to 10 posts. It’s too much for us to keep up with, so I can’t even imagine someone who actually has to do something with their days. So we have moved the Quant posts out of the main blog feed. Every other day, I’ll do a quick post linking to any activity we’ve had in the project, which is rapidly coming to a close. On Monday we posted the first 3 metrics posts for the Manage process. It’s the part where we are defining policies and rules to run our firewalls and IDS/IPS devices. Again, this project is driven by feedback from the community. We appreciate your participation and hope you’ll check out the metrics posts and tell us whether we are on target. So here are the first three posts: NSO Quant: Manage Metrics – Policy Review NSO Quant: Manage Metrics – Define/Update Policies and Rules NSO Quant: Manage Metrics – Document Policies and Rules Over the rest of the day, we’ll hit metrics for the signature management processes (for IDS/IPS), and then move into the operational phases of managing network security devices. Share:

Read Post

New Paper (+ Webcast): Understanding and Selecting a Tokenization Solution

Around the beginning of the year Adrian and I released our big database encryption paper: Understanding and Selecting a Database Encryption or Tokenization Solution. We realized pretty quickly there was no way we could do justice to tokenization in that paper, so we are now excited to release Understanding and Selecting a Tokenization Solution. In this paper we dig in and cover all the major ins and outs of tokenization. How it works, why you might want to use it, architectural and integration options, and key selection criteria. We also include descriptions of three major use cases… with pretty architectural diagrams. This was a fun project – the more we dug in, the more we learned about the inner workings of these systems and how they affect customers. We were shocked at how such a seemingly simple technology requires all sorts of design tradeoffs, and the different approaches taken by each vendor. In support of this presentation we are also giving a webcast with the sponsor/licensee, RSA. The webcast is September 28th at 1pm ET, and you can register. The content was developed independently of sponsorship, using our Totally Transparent Research process. You can download the PDF directly here, and the paper is also available (without registration) at RSA. Since they were so nice as to help feed my kid without mucking with the content, please pay them a visit to learn more about their offerings. Share:

Read Post

Totally Transparent Research is the embodiment of how we work at Securosis. It’s our core operating philosophy, our research policy, and a specific process. We initially developed it to help maintain objectivity while producing licensed research, but its benefits extend to all aspects of our business.

Going beyond Open Source Research, and a far cry from the traditional syndicated research model, we think it’s the best way to produce independent, objective, quality research.

Here’s how it works:

  • Content is developed ‘live’ on the blog. Primary research is generally released in pieces, as a series of posts, so we can digest and integrate feedback, making the end results much stronger than traditional “ivory tower” research.
  • Comments are enabled for posts. All comments are kept except for spam, personal insults of a clearly inflammatory nature, and completely off-topic content that distracts from the discussion. We welcome comments critical of the work, even if somewhat insulting to the authors. Really.
  • Anyone can comment, and no registration is required. Vendors or consultants with a relevant product or offering must properly identify themselves. While their comments won’t be deleted, the writer/moderator will “call out”, identify, and possibly ridicule vendors who fail to do so.
  • Vendors considering licensing the content are welcome to provide feedback, but it must be posted in the comments - just like everyone else. There is no back channel influence on the research findings or posts.
    Analysts must reply to comments and defend the research position, or agree to modify the content.
  • At the end of the post series, the analyst compiles the posts into a paper, presentation, or other delivery vehicle. Public comments/input factors into the research, where appropriate.
  • If the research is distributed as a paper, significant commenters/contributors are acknowledged in the opening of the report. If they did not post their real names, handles used for comments are listed. Commenters do not retain any rights to the report, but their contributions will be recognized.
  • All primary research will be released under a Creative Commons license. The current license is Non-Commercial, Attribution. The analyst, at their discretion, may add a Derivative Works or Share Alike condition.
  • Securosis primary research does not discuss specific vendors or specific products/offerings, unless used to provide context, contrast or to make a point (which is very very rare).
    Although quotes from published primary research (and published primary research only) may be used in press releases, said quotes may never mention a specific vendor, even if the vendor is mentioned in the source report. Securosis must approve any quote to appear in any vendor marketing collateral.
  • Final primary research will be posted on the blog with open comments.
  • Research will be updated periodically to reflect market realities, based on the discretion of the primary analyst. Updated research will be dated and given a version number.
    For research that cannot be developed using this model, such as complex principles or models that are unsuited for a series of blog posts, the content will be chunked up and posted at or before release of the paper to solicit public feedback, and provide an open venue for comments and criticisms.
  • In rare cases Securosis may write papers outside of the primary research agenda, but only if the end result can be non-biased and valuable to the user community to supplement industry-wide efforts or advances. A “Radically Transparent Research” process will be followed in developing these papers, where absolutely all materials are public at all stages of development, including communications (email, call notes).
    Only the free primary research released on our site can be licensed. We will not accept licensing fees on research we charge users to access.
  • All licensed research will be clearly labeled with the licensees. No licensed research will be released without indicating the sources of licensing fees. Again, there will be no back channel influence. We’re open and transparent about our revenue sources.

In essence, we develop all of our research out in the open, and not only seek public comments, but keep those comments indefinitely as a record of the research creation process. If you believe we are biased or not doing our homework, you can call us out on it and it will be there in the record. Our philosophy involves cracking open the research process, and using our readers to eliminate bias and enhance the quality of the work.

On the back end, here’s how we handle this approach with licensees:

  • Licensees may propose paper topics. The topic may be accepted if it is consistent with the Securosis research agenda and goals, but only if it can be covered without bias and will be valuable to the end user community.
  • Analysts produce research according to their own research agendas, and may offer licensing under the same objectivity requirements.
  • The potential licensee will be provided an outline of our research positions and the potential research product so they can determine if it is likely to meet their objectives.
  • Once the licensee agrees, development of the primary research content begins, following the Totally Transparent Research process as outlined above. At this point, there is no money exchanged.
  • Upon completion of the paper, the licensee will receive a release candidate to determine whether the final result still meets their needs.
  • If the content does not meet their needs, the licensee is not required to pay, and the research will be released without licensing or with alternate licensees.
  • Licensees may host and reuse the content for the length of the license (typically one year). This includes placing the content behind a registration process, posting on white paper networks, or translation into other languages. The research will always be hosted at Securosis for free without registration.

Here is the language we currently place in our research project agreements:

Content will be created independently of LICENSEE with no obligations for payment. Once content is complete, LICENSEE will have a 3 day review period to determine if the content meets corporate objectives. If the content is unsuitable, LICENSEE will not be obligated for any payment and Securosis is free to distribute the whitepaper without branding or with alternate licensees, and will not complete any associated webcasts for the declining LICENSEE. Content licensing, webcasts and payment are contingent on the content being acceptable to LICENSEE. This maintains objectivity while limiting the risk to LICENSEE. Securosis maintains all rights to the content and to include Securosis branding in addition to any licensee branding.

Even this process itself is open to criticism. If you have questions or comments, you can email us or comment on the blog.