What is Accreditation?
CDS solutions engineered by Owl Computing Technologies are used to support critical missions in Intelligence and Defense. These CDS systems must meet rigorous analysis and testing standards before they can be connected to critical networks. The Accreditation process refers to a suite of procedural safeguards, both technical and managerial, that are applied to the solution to assure an acceptable level of risk when the CDS is actually deployed within its operational environment.
Accreditation and Certification are closely related, but are not the same. A CDS may be certified after testing by an independent laboratory, thus providing a body of evidence that the CDS performs as advertised. Once Certified, a CDS may or may not be Accredited for use in a specific operational environment, depending on the details of the environment and mission.
Risk Decision Authority Criterion (RDAC), now at Version 2.2, provides the current method for deciding whether or not a particular CDS is granted Authority To Connect (ATC) at a particular site. CDS products from Owl Computing have already been granted ATC status in numerous Defense and Intelligence environments.
We at Owl Computing recognize that accreditation processes for such systems are of prime importance to our customers. In order to help our customers with CDS accreditation processes, we offer a variety of forms of assistance.
Owl recommends that all potential customers work closely with their local accreditation authorities in order to assure that all requirements are satisfied.
Accreditation Processes are Changing
Efforts by the Unified Cross Domain Management Office (UCDMO) have resulted in successful standardization of many CDS requirements, technical specifications, testing processes, and approval processes for operation and connectivity across all military and intelligence networks. Joint standard security controls for CDS systems supporting National Security are now reconciled under NIST SP 800.53 and CNSSI-1253 guidance documents.
New standards imposed by the UCDMO have largely superseded previous accreditation processes and guidance documents. We cannot deny that the accreditation process, and the changes it is undergoing, may tax even the most resolute of organizations seeking such approvals. Owl Computing can, however, share its expertise and experience with clients needing assistance in selecting best-of-breed, and in attaining the requisite accreditation for deployment and use.
The UCDMO was formed to manage risks and benefits of various forms of CDS connectivity where risks accepted on one network are imposed on others. To foster maximal re-use of these systems across Defense and Intelligence communities, the UCDMO maintains a Cross Domain Baseline Inventory that comprises a CDS short list, numbering roughly twenty, that have been approved for use at one or more sites and are well documented.
As of September 2010, Owl OCDS-FT01, formerly Owl 4.0 CDS, sponsored by DoDIIS, is on the UCDMO Baseline (version 3.5.0). Owl OCDS-FT01 is a modular non-site specific one-way file transfer solution. Other Owl solutions are under review by the UCDMO and likely to be listed in the near future, including a system supporting streaming video.
Accreditations pre-approved by the UCDMO are considered straightforward; an adaptation process exists (though is not fully defined) for situations where a pre-approved solution partially satisfies, but does not completely satisfy, customer requirements. The UCDMO advises all organizations requiring a CDS solution to work closely with their local or branch Cross Domain Management Offices in order to assure that all requirements are satisfied.
products from Owl Computing are engineered to support both the traditional point-to-point approach, and enterprise-scale deployment. The modular simplicity of DualDiode products, their bandwidth capacities, and the range of user data/information types they support, provide integration and scaling flexibility, while maintaining the highest levels of network security.
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We encourage our customers to contact us concerning their accreditation goals and requirements. Please call or Email Us
so that we may help inform the task, and help achieve the desired end.