Corda Network Foundation Document history

Information Classification Policy

1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all sensitive Corda Network Foundation information and systems are appropriately classified, based on their importance to the Foundation.
This classification must accurately reflect the impact that might result from any information or system loss, corruption, misappropriation or unavailability.

2 Risks Addressed

Inappropriately restrictive information classification may result in excessive costs for the protection of low value information or systems, or loss of productivity as a result of an overly complex security regime. Alternatively, absent or inappropriately permissive information classification may expose the Foundation to unavailability, disclosure, modification or loss of high-value information. Access controls will therefore be applied in a manner that con-siders the Foundation’s contractual, legal and regulatory obligations and is appropriate to the sensitivity of the information and systems under consideration.

3 Control Objectives

The objectives of the controls mandated by this policy is to en-sure that:

  • Information owners are aware of their responsibilities with regards to the classification, labelling, cataloguing and protection of information and systems for which they are responsible.
  • Foundation employees and associates are aware of their responsibilities with regards to the protection of information and systems which they may create or to which they may be granted access.

4 Who Does This Policy Apply To?

This policy applies to employees and contractors, consultants, temporaries, and other workers at the Foundation. This group is referred to as “employees and associates” throughout this policy.

5 Scope

The scope of this policy includes all information and systems used, developed or operated by, or on behalf of, the Foundation.

6 Roles and responsibilities

All Foundation employees and associates

All Foundation and its Operator’s employees and associates must understand and abide by this policy. Some individuals have additional responsibilities as listed below.

Information owners

Information or systems must be treated as information assets if the Foundation is sensitive to their loss, unauthorised modification or disclosure.

All information assets must be under the care of a designated information owner. Where there is any confusion regarding the ownership of an information asset, ownership will reside with the relevant departmental head.

Information owners are also responsible for maintaining the information asset catalogue (or more simply, “the catalogue”) entries for all significant information assets under their ownership. The catalogue is a record of information assets or groups of like information assets, along with important attributes such as their classification, distribution list and retention periods.

All information owners are responsible for defining and maintaining the correct classification of information assets under their care, recording that classification in the catalogue, and for communicating that classification to users of those assets.

Information Custodians

Information Owners may delegate day to day responsibilities for the protection of information assets to one or more custodians. A custodian may also have delegated responsibilities for the definition and maintenance of the catalogue and implementation of controls to protect assets according to their classification.

Head of Compliance

The Head of Compliance will identify any specific classification requirements for assets maintained by the Foundation resulting from specific legislation or regulation.

Information Security Manager

The Information Security Manager is responsible for ensuring that any technical solutions to the protection of classified assets meet the requirements of this policy, the Information Owner and the Head of Compliance.

The information Security Manager will define the classification of data retained for logging and incident response purposes.

7 Mandatory Classification

Confidentiality

All information assets must be classified according to their confidentiality. Confidentiality reflects the need to restrict access to the information asset under consideration. The Foundation will use the following classifications for confidentiality: public, internal, confidential and secret.

Care should be taken to avoid over-classification of assets. Information owners should think carefully before they classify assets using the higher classification levels of “confidential” or “secret”.

Public

Information assets must be classified as public if they have been approved for general external distribution. Public information may include the Foundation website, blogs, or Open Source software and documentation.

Internal

Information assets must be classified as internal if they should not be disclosed outside the Foundation but when there is no requirement to restrict their distribution within the business. Internal is a classification generally used for assets which would inconvenience or cause limited financial loss or reputational damage to the Foundation or its clients if disclosed.

Internal assets include (but are not restricted to) intellectual property such as policies, procedures, designs or source code.

Internal assets may be freely distributed within the Foundation.

Internal assets may be distributed to external organisations, subject to the approval of their information owner, so long as appropriate confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements are in place with the recipient organisation.

Confidential

Information assets must be classified as confidential where there is a need to restrict their distribution to a limited group of Foundation employees and associates. Confidential is a classification signifying that loss, or disclosure outside a restricted group, could result in significant harm to the Foundation.

The information owner is responsible for approving access on an individual basis for confidential assets.

Confidential assets must include a distribution list to ensure that their confidentiality is preserved. The distribution list should be embedded as part of the asset (for example, a paragraph or table in a word document). If this is not possible, the distribution list must be included in the asset’s catalogue entry or the catalogue entry for the group to which the asset belongs.

Confidential assets may include (but are not restricted to) business plans, details of impending mergers or acquisitions, accounting information and systems, payroll and compensation information, and sensitive customer information.

Confidential assets may be distributed to named recipients in external organisations, subject to the approval of the Information Owner. Appropriate confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements must be in place between the Foundation and the recipient organisation before this may happen.

Secret

Information assets must be classified as secret, where their confidentiality must be preserved under all circumstances. Secret, as a classification, is used to restrict access to an information asset to a single individual, or very small group of explicitly named individuals.

Secret is a classification most often reserved for assets, such as passwords, that are used to authenticate parties in the context of privileged access to resources.

The information owner is responsible for approving access on an individual basis for confidential assets.

Secret assets must include a distribution list to ensure that their confidentiality may be preserved. The distribution list should be embedded as part of the asset (for example, a paragraph in a word document). If this is not possible the distribution list must be included in the asset’s catalogue entry.

Secret may be extended to describe assets that should not be made visible under any circumstances. Examples include cryptographic key material such as certificate authority signing keys.

Secret information must not be distributed outside the Foundation.

8 Optional Classification

Integrity

Information assets may be classified in terms of their integrity requirements. Integrity relates to the need to protect an information asset against improper loss or modification.

Integrity classifications are defined as follows:

Level Category General definition
1 No requirement/no impact No business impact from loss
2 Significant/limited impact Activities can be recovered from loss with zero or minimal business impact
3 Important/serious impact Activities can be recovered from loss with short term impact
4 Critical/severe impact Loss is unacceptable under all circumstances

Availability

Information assets may be classified in terms of their availability requirements. Availability relates to the need to ensure that an information asset may be reliably accessed in a timely manner.

Availability classifications are defined as follows:

Level Category General definition
1 No requirement / no impact Maximum downtime 1 week. 1 day per month expected
2 Business hours / limited impact Maximum downtime 1 day. 8 hours per month expected
3 Available / serious impact Maximum downtime 1 hour, 1 hour per month expected
4 Highly available / severe impact Maximum downtime 1 hour, 30 minutes per year expected

Classification modifiers

Classification modifiers may be used to add context to, and to elaborate upon, the three fundamental information classifications of confidentiality, integrity or availability. They are principally used to provide further clarity on confidentiality issues but can also supplement availability and integrity classifications. Classification modifiers should be used only where appropriate.

Information assets must be tested against any classification modifiers that may apply to them in order to ensure that use of the modifier is appropriate. Classification modifiers will generally apply to information assets such as client information or personally identifiable information which have specific customer, legal or regulatory status. All relevant classification modifiers should be applied; in the case of any conflict between modifiers, the highest classification is held to apply.

Classification modifiers applying to Foundation information assets will change from time to time. Information on currently applicable modifiers is maintained in the information security management pages in the Foundation wiki.

Classification modifiers are associated with a minimum confidentiality classification. For example, all information that has a modifier of “PII” must be classified as “confidential”.

9 Guidelines for Cataloguing Information Assets

It may not be reasonably possible for an information owner to individually catalogue all information assets under their control. Practical techniques, such as classifying and cataloguing groups of similar assets (such as shared directories containing finance information, or password manager databases or groups of signing keys) may be used where appropriate.

10 Guidelines for Labelling Information Assets

All information assets should, where reasonably possible, be labelled with their confidentiality classification. Where labelling is not practical, appropriate compensating controls must be put in place.

Information assets that are stored in a way that prevents their individual labelling (such as attributes of a system or as database rows) must have a data catalogue entry that includes their classification.

Information assets are not required to be labelled with their integrity and availability classifications.

11 Guidelines for Handling Unclassified Information and Systems

Information or systems not defined as assets cannot be considered as classified.

Information assets that are not classified must be treated as confidential until they may be properly classified.

12 Compliance

Assessments may be carried out for compliance against this policy. Any violation of this policy will be investigated and if the cause is found due to wilful disregard or negligence, it will be treated as a disciplinary offence. All disciplinary proceedings are coordinated through the Human Resources Department. The Foundation reserves the right to amend this policy at any time and will publish updated versions to all staff.