WB106 – SABSA Architecture in Mission Critical Systems Engineering Projects

Date/time: Wednesday 24 March 2021 – 07:00 GMT / 18:00 AEDT



Mission critical systems are increasingly becoming a key area of discussion with regards to security outcomes. As a result, there is an increasing focus and active discussion on how to apply security architecture to mission critical systems themselves and the sectors that are used in.

Discussions about architecture frameworks and mission critical systems often miss the ‘elephant in the room’ since they exclude the use of Systems Engineering practices to deliver large complex solutions. This is a counter-intuitive situation since architecture frameworks were originally conceived to deal with complexities in delivery of systems and outcomes and are often derived from Systems Engineering principles. Systems Engineering itself is an “interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate and manage complex systems over their lifecycles.”

Although the SABSA training content does highlight the Systems Engineering pedigree of the SABSA framework and methodology, many SABSA trainees and practitioners are unfamiliar with the formal practice of Systems Engineering and how engineering organisations function.

This presentation is based on the experiences of security professionals working in engineering organisations, on large scale mission critical systems and the challenges they encountered. This provides a good example of how to apply SABSA security architecture practices to deliver value even though the engineering / technical organisation has not ‘accepted’ or ‘mandated’ the use of the SABSA framework.

The presentation will familiarise SABSA architects and other security professionals with:
• What mission critical systems are in practice;
• The practice of Systems Engineering and its application to mission critical systems;
• Provide guidance on applying SABSA methods in a system engineering context; and,
• Most importantly, how to integrate into and be effective in systems engineering organisation.

Speaker: Alex Parkinson

Senior Security Architect / Cyber Project Design Authority, Thales Australia

Alex parkinson

Alex Parkinson is a senior cybersecurity architect at Thales Australia. Alex’s qualifications include a Master of Science (Internetworking), a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and CISSP, CRISC and SABSA Practitioner (SCP) professional certifications. Alex has over 30 years of experience in understanding and dealing with complex systems and organisations in multiple sectors, including Defence and National Security, Trading and Financial Services and Mission Critical Engineering projects.

Alex’s recent achievements include being the systems security architect for the CMATS / OneSky project (a joint civil military national ATM system for Australia) and being the training facilitator for cybersecurity for engineers training in Thales Australia.

Alex is motivated by the big-picture outcome, rather than just a short-term goal or number. He is attracted to understanding and solving the ‘difficult problem’. Being able to successfully apply cybersecurity to mission critical systems is an example of this.

Alex lives in Sydney, Australia; but works with local, national and international project teams.