Mapping SAMM to ISO/IEC 27034

ISO/IEC 27034 (Application Security), which can be purchased from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and national standards bodies, is designed to help organisations build security throughout the life cycle of applications.

There is a preview of the contents and first few pages of Part 1 on the IEC website. Part 1 presents an overview of application security and introduces definitions, concepts, principles and processes involved in application security.

The contents listing for Annex A of ISO/IEC 27034:2011 Part 1 mentions a mapping to the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL), and in the section describing the standard’s purpose, it refers to the need to map existing software development processes to ISO/IEC 27034:

Annex A (informative) provides an example illustrating how an existing software development process can be mapped to some of the components and processes of ISO/IEC 27034. Generally speaking, an organization using any development life cycle should perform a mapping such as the one described in Annex A, and add whatever missing components or processes are needed for compliance with ISO/IEC 27034.

The contents for Part 1 shows the SDL is compared with an Organization Normative Framework (ONF) made up from ideal application security related processes and resources:

  • Business context
  • Regulatory context
  • Application specifications repository
  • Technological context
  • Roles, responsibilities and qualifications
  • Organisation application security control (ASC) library
  • Application security life cycle reference model

This is very useful but I wondered how a comparison with Open SAMM might look. I have therefore created the table below indicating how the processes and resources mapped to SDL relate to the 12 security practices defined in Open SAMM. The large diamond symbol is used to indicated where an Open SAMM practice has a very close relationship with a topic within ISO/IEC 27034 and a smaller diamond for weaker relationships.

Mapping of Open SAMM to SDL resources and practices mentioned in the Organization Normative Framework (ONF) from ISO/IEC 27034

The ISO/IEC 27034 “life cycle reference model” appears to be most closely aligned with the idea of an organisation-specific “software assurance programme” in SAMM combined with a risk-based approach to applying security to different applications, and within sub-parts of application systems.

We can also see the SAMM construction, verification and deployment practices primarily relate to the ISO/IEC 27034 application security control library used for the overall organisation and individual applications, as well as the actual use of the framework during acquisition/development, deployment and operation of (provisioning and operating) the application.

SAMM is available to download free of charge, and can also be purchased at-cost as a colour soft cover book.

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  1. #1 by Kevin Feimster - July 12th, 2012 at 10:17

    Is there installation instructions for the SAMM-1.0-en_US-0.3xml?


    Kevin Feimster

  2. #2 by Colin Watson - August 8th, 2012 at 00:40

    That file is a structured data set of the text from the v1.0 document.

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