Security Automation and Continuous Monitoring (sacm)

WG Name Security Automation and Continuous Monitoring
Acronym sacm
Area Security Area (sec)
State Active
Charter charter-ietf-sacm-03 Approved
Status Update Show update (last changed 2016-11-16)
Dependencies Document dependency graph (SVG)
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Personnel Chairs Adam Montville
Christopher Inacio
Karen O'Donoghue
Area Director Kathleen Moriarty
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Charter for Working Group

Securing information and the systems that store, process, and transmit that information is a challenging task for enterprises of all sizes, and many security practitioners spend much of their time on manual processes. Standardized protocols and models aiding collection and evaluation of endpoint elements enable automation, thus freeing practitioners to focus on high priority tasks. Due to the breadth of this work, the working group will address enterprise use cases pertaining to the assessment of endpoint posture (using the definitions of Endpoint and Posture from RFC 5209). In alignment with RFC 5209, a network device is an endpoint.

Posture assessment entails the following five steps which the working will create solutions to automate:

1. Identify and characterize target endpoints
2. Determine specific endpoint elements to assess
3. Collect and make available specified elements' actual values
4. Compare actual element values to policy compliant element values
5. Make results available

This working group will focus on collection, evaluation, and orchestration and communication, as described herein.

A. Collection. The WG will define a standardized way to provide two types of guidance to collectors over varying collection mechanisms:

1) Which target endpoints to collect from, and
2) What elements to collect from these target endpoints.

A set of instructions (such as vulnerability description data, YANG filter expressions, Windows Management Instrumentation classes, etc.) can be brokered to the appropriate collectors using the control plane functions defined by "C. Orchestration and Communication" (below). Element collection from different sources may require orchestrating functions that go beyond the set of capabilities a collector can provide. This will inform the requirements and characteristics for "C. Orchestration and Communication". The working group recognizes that manual configuration of targets and corresponding collection profiles will not scale and does not seem to be a viable option.

B. Evaluation. The working group will standardize a criteria language enabling evaluation of actual endpoint posture information against desired endpoint posture information to produce a standardized result. This extensible language will support complex Boolean statements, comparison operators, logical flow statements, and functions for string manipulation. Additionally, the working group will seek to discover an approach that allows data from any posture collection mechanism to be generically evaluated.

C. Orchestration and Communication. The working group will define a set of control plane functions to enable the orchestration between element collectors. These element collectors can then provide the requisite elements sought by posture collectors, posture evaluators, and data repositories.

Specific work items may include the following:

- Define a way to provide three types of guidance to the correct SACM collectors: 1) Which target endpoints to collect from and 2) what to collect from these target endpoints, and 3) how quickly after an attribute change information must be collected. When applied, a set of instructions, such as vulnerability description data or YANG expressions, can be brokered to the appropriate collectors.

- Define an extension of IETF NEA [] to collect and deliver information about firmware, operating systems, and software installed on an endpoint.

- Describe a criteria language capable of being evaluated against endpoint posture information to produce a standardized result. The language will support complex Boolean statements, comparison operators, and functions for string manipulation; and will be extensible enough to be applicable to the full range of collected posture attributes. Additionally, this document will describe an approach that allows data from any posture collection mechanism to be evaluated.

- Define a control plane function to enable the discovery and orchestration between devices that can provide the requisite information sought by posture collectors, posture evaluators or both. For example, XMPP capable host/endpoint interactions may be defined through XMPP control plane and data transfer protocol extensions. Likewise, the asynchronous push of selected attributes on switches and routers may be framed using YANG Push for periodic and on-change triggers.

- Define a method of expressing software metadata that is suitable for use by constrained devices including a CBOR-based format derived from the ISO/IEC 19770-2 Software Identification (SWID) tag standard.

- Define best practices for the collection of posture information from endpoints and its delivery to a collector, from which it can be distributed using the SACM messaging standards.

- Extend existing standards for information exchange to support the sharing of software, configuration information, and other forms of guidance including extensions to the Resource-Oriented Lightweight Information Exchange (ROLIE).

- Describe a SACM Information Model and a SACM Architecture including protocol requirements and their associated use cases as well as a description of how SACM protocols fit together into a system.


Date Milestone
May 2018 Initial Draft on YANG-push over transfer mechanism
May 2018 Initial Draft on ECP over transfer mechanism
Mar 2018 Submit CoSWID to IESG
Mar 2018 Submit ROLIE configuration checklist information type to IESG
Mar 2018 Submit ROLIE software descriptor to IESG
Jan 2018 Initial Draft on SACM Architecture
Jan 2018 WGLC Endpoint Compliance Profile
Jan 2018 WGLC CoSWID
Jan 2018 WGLC ROLIE configuration checklist information type
Jan 2018 WGLC ROLIE software descriptor
Dec 2017 Submit SWIMA to IESG