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  • Writer's pictureMarcel Venema

FIPS or no FIPS, that's the question

When designing a new infrastructure for a large customer, there was a strong desire to use FIPS compliance with the RESONE Workspace environment. Since version 2015 the RESONE Workspace software can use Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) compliant security algorithms.

Ultimately, FIPS is a set of U.S. government standards that define how and which encryption algorithms are used. It does not make RESONE Workspace more secure. It only forces RESONE Workspace to use FIPS-validated encryption schemes.

During a short Proof of Concept period I played with the functionality and as an administrator I found it, how to say it nicely, ‘special’ :

  • When using Windows authentication, FIPS can only be enabled when creating the DataStore from the RESONE Workspace Management Console. It is not possible to let the database administrator create a database and then connect to the database unattended. According to the manual, this will work with SQL Authentication.

  • When creating building blocks a password is always required. The password cannot be empty.

  • You cannot import building blocks from a FIPS compliant DataStore to a non-compliant DataStore. It is possible to import non-FIPS building blocks to a FIPS environment. So if you developing building blocks for different customers, when using a FIPS compliant DataStore be sure all your customers are too.

  • When importing buildingblocks unattended, a hashed password is required. This hashed password is one-time displayed during creation of a building block.

  • Building blocks can only be imported one-by-one to a FIPS complaint DataStore.

  • Oracle DataStore support for FIPS compliancy is expected in future RESONE Workspace versions.

Maybe there are more considerations, but this is what I found during the short test.

My personal advise: If you are a US based government organization and are obliged to use the RESONE Workspace FIPS option, you have no choice. But if you have……

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