Information Security in Industry has matured in the last few decades. Standards such as ISO17799, the Common Criteria, a number of industrial certification and risk analysis methodologies have raised the bar on what is considered a good security solution from a business perspective.
Yet, if we compare Information Security with Networking or Empirical Software Engineering we find a major difference. Networking research has introduced concepts such as Quality of Service and Service Level Agreements. Conferences and Journals are frequently devoted to performance evaluation, QoS and SLAs. Empirical Software Engineering has made similar advances. Notions such as software metrics and measurements are well established. Processes to measure the quality and reliability of software exist and are appreciated in industry.
Security looks different. Even a fairly sophisticated standard such as ISO17799 has an intrinsically qualitative nature. Notions such as Security Metrics, Quality of Protection (QoP) or Protection Level Agreement (PLA) have surfaced in the literature but still have a qualitative flavour. The "QoP field" in WS-Security is just a data field to specify a cryptographic algorithm. Indeed, neither ISO17799 nor ISO15408 (the Common Criteria) addresses QoP sufficiently. ISO17799 is a management standard, not directly concerned with the actual quality of protection achieved; ISO15408 is instead a product assessment standard and yet does not answer the question of how a user of a product assessed by it can achieve a high QoP within his/her operational environment. Both standards cover just one aspect of an effective QoP and even the combination of both would not address the aspect sufficiently. "Best practice" standards, such as the baseline protection standard published by many government agencies, also belong to the category of standards that are useful, but not sufficient, for achieving a good QoP.
Security is different also in another respect. A very large proportion of recorded security incidents has a non-IT cause. Hence, while the networking and software communities may concentrate on technical features (networks and software), security requires a much wider notion of "system", including users, work processes, organisational structures in addition to the IT infrastructure.
The QoP Workshop intends to discuss how security research can progress towards a notion of Quality of Protection in Security comparable to the notion of Quality of Service in Networking, Software Reliability, or Software Measurements and Metrics in Empirical Software Engineering.
The QoP Workshop will be a one day workshop co-located with ESORICS, the European Symposium on research in security and privacy and will be held in Milano (Italy) on the 12-14 of September 2005 and METRICS, the 11th IEEE International Software Metrics Symposium METRICS 2005 in Como (19-22 Sep).