Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) | Overview | the Importance of Information Security Policies and Procedures

48. What is the Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) and why are information security policies and procedures so important today, and do you offer comprehensive I.T. security documentation?

The Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL), according to http://oval.mitre.org/ is an information security community effort for standardizing how entities can assess and report upon the machine state of computer systems. Additionally, OVAL also includes a language for encoding system details, along with an assortment of content repositories held throughout the community itself. Here’s an example of how OVAL works: An operating system vendor decides to release a new and enhanced set of security advisories for its platform as OVAL Definitions. As such, I.T. personnel, such as a system administrator, will run the organization’s vulnerability management tool that actually retrieves the OVAL definitions and verifies its signature. Next, the vulnerability management tool then collects the attributes required to make an assertion about whether or not the system is vulnerable and includes this information in the OVAL System Characteristics.

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Additionally, the vulnerability management tool then evaluates the OVAL System Characteristics against the OVAL definitions, illustrating the findings in the OVAL results. This is just one of many use case scenarios you can read about at http://oval.mitre.org/.

The Importance of Information Security Policies and Procedures for Today’s Businesses
OVAL seeks to play a notable role in the following domains within the broader field of information security: Vulnerability Assessment, Configuration Management, Patch Management, and Policy Compliance, just to name a select few. It’s without question an important component for helping ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of an organization’s critical system resources, thus I.T. security professionals should strive to learn more about OVAL, while adopting its platform where applicable. While OVAL plays an important role in information security, organizations must also ensure that documented, enterprise wide operational and information security policies and procedures are also in place.

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