Here are five steps product managers and developers can take to manage the security product certification process a little more smoothly.

1. Fully vet an accredited lab partner to help you manage the test process

Ask your lab before contracting if you (as the vendor), need to develop any test harnesses or use your own resources do any of the testing and show the results. With few exceptions, your lab should be able to do close to 100% of the Protection Profile testing with their processes and tools. Set expectations in advance on your team’s required level of involvement to avoid surprises.

2. Confirm how much pricing contingency the lab is building into their model for testing

Historically, labs did not know how many rounds of testing they would need to do, because the testing was done at the end of an evaluation project with little advance insight into possible issues. This resulted in labs building in a significant risk premium. If you, as a vendor, undertake an automated Functional Gap Assessment approach to ensure product readiness before formal testing, you can confidently enter into a contract with a lab that only includes one full pass of testing. Don’t pay for unnecessary testing cycles.

3. Ask your lab how they do their gap analysis

If it’s a paper-based exercise or checklist, be aware that the process will likely miss granular details that may end up costing re-development cycles and slow your time to market. A lab that relies solely on a paper-based gap analysis may only uncover additional problems during the official testing phase, at which point you are forced to remediate the problem. The best way to determine gaps is to execute actual test cases using customized tools against the target early and often to dramatically reduce re-development risk.

4. Confirm with your lab how long the entire process takes before signing the contract

Be wary of broad or loose time frames. Armed with the results of a Functional Gap Assessment, the lab should be able to confidently commit to testing and finalization duration. There are some caveats around specific CC-scheme policies, such as the US scheme requiring last minute technical interpretations or requirements to be applicable right up until submission. A standard NDcPP formal evaluation can be completed in 60 days or less if the lab has the FGA results as inputs and is able to be “one and done” with formal testing. Don’t agree to an extended multi-month process without understanding why it will take so long and slow your time to market.

5. Check with your lab on the ownership of the project deliverables

Be wary of labs that don’t provide the consulting or documentation deliverables as works for hire. You have paid for the work and should have ownership of the documents for future use with that lab or another of your choosing.

At the end of the day, product managers and developers are equally responsible for driving better security assurance outcomes and the move to a modernized approach will yield greater results. Common Criteria can and should be a key tool in the toolbox to get us there.

Culled from Infosec News Ireland

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