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Security Architecture Governance

Security Architecture Governance involves the processes and policies guiding the development, implementation, and management of security architecture within an organization. It establishes a framework aligning security measures with business objectives, regulatory compliance, and industry best practices. This governance ensures the creation and maintenance of security policies, efficient resource allocation, and adherence to relevant laws and standards. It plays a vital role in identifying and managing security risks, making informed decisions about security architecture, and continuously monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of security controls. By implementing security architecture governance, organizations enhance their overall security posture, reduce vulnerabilities, and build a resilient security infrastructure that adapts to evolving threats while aligning with organizational goals. The focus includes securing architecture, encompassing infrastructure, and networking aspects.

Security Architecture Governance Framework

Security Architecture Governance is not a one-time project, but a dynamic and evolving process that needs to be governed and monitored. Security architecture governance is the framework and process that ensures the security architecture is aligned, consistent, effective, and compliant throughout the organization.

Guiding Principles of Security Architecture Governance

  • Identify

  • Protect

  • Detect

  • Respond

  • Recover

Organizational Structure

The Security Architecture Governance team is initiated to develop and enable the adoption of design, review, execution, and governance capabilities in and around:

  • Enterprise Architecture

  • Technical Design Authority

  • Centers of Excellence

  • Project Teams

Security Architecture Governance Roles and Responsibilities

The NIST SP 800-37 Risk Management Framework and SP 800-53 Privacy Framework call out security architecture in the configuration management, planning, program management, and system and services acquisition security and privacy control families. Key responsibilities of security architecture include: 

  • Exhibit leadership and facilitate effective communication.

  • Envision, lead, and guide the development of an all-encompassing solution architecture in accordance with IT transformation.

  • Possess a thorough understanding of business domains aligned with the business capability model.

  • Comprehend technologies corresponding to the technology capability maps.

  • Establish and uphold the connection between architecture implementation, strategic objectives in the enterprise architecture, and overall business goals.

  • Provide a mechanism for the formal acceptance and approval of architecture through consensus and authorized publication.

  • Implement a fundamental control mechanism to ensure the architecture's effective implementation.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in solution architecture and design skills.

  • Execute threat modeling to identify, communicate, and comprehend threats and mitigations for safeguarding enterprise infrastructure and applications.

  • Maintain a strategic perspective of the attack surface, ensuring its inclusion in the design and implementation of security controls.

  • Sustain a security reference architecture to optimize and prevent duplicate controls in the enterprise.

  • Generate baseline configurations for systems reflecting the current enterprise architecture.

  • Formulate security and privacy plans for systems consistent with the organization’s enterprise architecture.

  • Develop security and privacy architectures for systems, detailing their integration into and support for the enterprise architecture. Periodically review and update these architectures to align with updates in the enterprise architecture.

  • Integrate security and privacy requirements into the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), ensuring early consideration in the system lifecycle, and directly addressing organizational mission and business processes. This process aligns with the organization’s risk management strategy.

  • Mandate system/component/service developers to produce design specifications and security architectures that align with and support the organization’s security architecture, integrated within the organization’s enterprise architecture.

Security Architecture Governance Processes

Security Architecture Governance processes are integral elements of the overall organization's enterprise architecture used to implement technology solutions. Listed below are the five primary processes:

  • Architecture Security Documentation Process

  • Architecture Security Review Process

  • Architecture Security Communication Process

  • Architecture Compliance Process

  • Architecture Framework Sustainment Process

Security Architecture Governance Team Requirements

Where to start, the Security Architecture Governance team should start with ‘I don’t know'. As a requirement for this framework and to develop an effective security strategy reviewing the below information is the first step:

  • Review the most up-to-date enterprise architecture maturity assessments.

  • Review the most up-to-date organizations' cybersecurity assessments.

  • Review any compliance and regulatory audit attestations.

Summary

A well-structured security architecture governance is crucial for minimizing IT costs and risks, expediting decision-making, and ensuring efficient delivery. Security Architecture Governance guarantees the proper management of Security Architecture programs, generating artifacts and plans that genuinely reflect organizational goals and requirements. It also ensures that investment decisions align with Security Architecture from initiation to implementation.

Governance plays a pivotal role in any transformative initiative, and Security Architecture is no exception. It establishes a platform for regular interaction among various stakeholders, fostering the continual upkeep of security architecture.

 

A well-defined Security Architecture Governance program should not extend over years; instead, it must swiftly deliver business value. The program's output should be actionable, and its impact should be measured, emphasizing results over mere activity.

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