SERENITY (“System Engineering for Security and Dependability”) is a European founded research project that started in January 2006.
Driven by the need for tightly integrating security considerations in system development and acknowledging the complexity of the task in service-oriented architectures, the research project aims to delivery a framework to support system designers/developers (persons that in general might lack a deep security know-how) to make their systems secure by providing them access to explicitly represented security expertise in terms of patterns made available for automated processing. These patterns, from now on referred to as SERENITY patterns, are precisely specified, validated, and link to security and dependable solutions and their implementations, thus enhancing the notion of patterns as being known in Software Engineering.
Though still rarely done in practice, the importance of considering security concerns from the very beginning of the design phase is widely recognized. In this context, the idea of having an automaticframework like SERENITY that given in input a set of security requirements is able to return security mechanisms the designer/developer can smoothly integrate into his system is a significant step forward. SERENITY focuses on five key areas to provide security mechanisms: (i) Organization & Business, (ii) Workflow & Services, and (iii) Network & Devices levels, (iv) provision of integrated solutions for these mechanisms and (v) support for run-time monitoring.
The project consortium comprises 15 partners from academic and industrial research including Thales, ATOS, Engineering, Athens Technology Center, Fraunhofer Institute, Telefonica, University of Trento, and City University of London.
An entire activity, mainly carried on by the project industrial partners, will focus at developing a set of motivating reference scenarios to evaluate, tune, and assess all methods, techniques, and tools emerging from SERENITY. SAP Research is leading this crucial activity and is developing two over five reference scenarios: an e-Business scenario focusing on the loan origination process in the banking environment, and a Smart Items scenario focusing on health-care monitoring of patients after hospitalization.
In this second scenario we deal with the growing requirements of the electronic health care monitoring and assistance for patients. This scenario requires collaboration between doctors, pharmacists, patients, social workers and emergency medical teams in a health care landscape as well as interactions between all these human actors and a significant amount of heterogeneous (smart) devices. Not surprisingly the scenario poses challenging requirements varying from security, to privacy and dependability. For instance, the data exchanged, processed, and stored within this scenario is highly sensible and needs to be carefully protected against improper misuse. Similarly, reliability of the data inferred (e.g., health status of a patient), availability of critical scenario’s components (e.g., medical emergency response centre) are to be enforced.
SERENITY patterns answering to security requirements as the one mentioned above are currently under development in the research project. They will be after assessed against a healthcare research evaluation prototype to pave the way to their migration to real industrial applications as SAP Healthcare products based on collaborative healthcare networks (CHN).
In my next blog, I will elaborate more the technical details of the SERENITY healthcare scenario.