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Cookbook for Security Considerations

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As not all HL7 standards writers are security experts, this cookbook is intended to provide basic knowledge on conducting a risk assessment and some “tricks of the trade” relevant to Security Considerations section writing. It is not only based on best practice in the field of risk assessment and mitigation but also on the experience of the Security Workgroup while compiling the Security Considerations section for new HL7 works.

This cookbook is specifically intended for HL7 standards writers. Though it is based on best practice, it is not a complete method for thorough risk assessment of a package product. HL7 does not endorse any use of this cookbook outside of the scope of HL7 standards editing.

After presenting the basics of risk assessment and risk mitigation, the cookbook explains how to scope Security Considerations for HL7 standards and finally provides guidelines on the effective writing of the Security Considerations section.

The Process

Formal Process should be followed. See the References below (This text comes from section 2)

When considering security and privacy issues associated with a standard, one must:

  1. Identify (See section 2.2)
    1. And clearly define the scope of the standard, including the baseline assumptions
    2. New threat scenarios and describe the type of impact that scenario implies
  2. Analyze (See section 2.3)
    1. The level of impact and likelihood of occurrence for each threat scenario to determine risk
    2. Prioritize these risks in order to focus on the most important ones
  3. Plan (See section 2.4)
    1. Determine mitigation strategies that should be implemented for all medium to high risk threat scenarios
  4. Track (See section 2.5)
    1. Assess the effect of the application of the mitigation strategies
    2. Reassess the risks by going through steps 2 and 3 until all medium and high risk threat scenarios have been addressed
  5. Document all security considerations (See section 2.6)

Do NOT use this tool :-)


Examples of Risk Assessment Spreadsheets

  • SAML use in CCOW -- spreadsheet not yet published
  • CDA-Consent -- spreadsheet not yet published