Rationalizing Architecture Practice; The TOGAF Approach

December 2015

Traditionally, IT portfolios are managed by proprietary practices, evolved through past experience and shaped by rapid business needs and opportunities. Decision makers develop IT vision from experience, business culture, technology advancements, etc. and make investment decisions accordingly. Learn from experience iteration feeds this process continually. This approach has been workable on many occasions as long is it can be kept under control with help of talented professionals and matured governance practices.

Architecture functions bring well defined structures to this routine and the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) provides a repeatable process to develop and maintain architectures. Activities are carried out within an iterative cycle of continuous architecture definition and realization. Nevertheless, executing a comprehensive ADM cycle requires extensive resources with participation of various organizational units and stakeholders. This is considerable amount of investment that needs to be justified properly and may not be feasible due to organization specific factors.

TOGAF is well aware of this fact and allows tailoring of the framework to the circumstances of the individual organization or project. Scope of architecture activity may be limited and formality may be reduced without impairing the spirit of architecture. TOGAF also groups ADM phases within iteration cycles to direct focus to particular activities to achieve a specific purpose. These iteration cycles are named in line with the concentration of the activities involved and the desired outcomes to be achieved.

Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) - What's new in 2015

July 2015

I have been reviewing Verizon's DBIRs since 2012 and intended to do the same this year. Apparently, I do not need to write a new post as my review from last year is still valid where majority of security incidents (96% to be exact) fall into one of the nine incident patterns defined in 2014. I would say my previous review is still applicable this year with the addition of a few points below;
  • Point of Sale (POS) Intrusions took over the top position from Web Application Attacks that is now down to 9.4% from its huge slice of 35% last year. Maturity of technical vulnerability management processes look like on the rise, though the report does not jump into simple conclusions as such.
  • Crimeware (represents generic malware infections) and Cyber-Espionage compromise other big slices; 18.8% and 18% of the total number of incidents respectively.
  • External actors are still the major player of incidents. No surprise!
  • RAM Scraper has become a significant threat action this year. This must be in relation to the big slice of POS intrusions (28.5% of data breaches) where sensitive data momentarily reside unencrypted in RAM for processing.
  • Phishing is still rising with a slowing rate of growth. In contrast, keylogger malware  has been in decline.