What motivates the desire to develop consensus standards? Drivers can include the need for well-defined, consistently applied processes to keep people safe; cross-industry agreements to heighten efficiency; or market development to increase revenue potential.
Typically, it is understood that a collaborative result carries more long-term value than what can be achieved separately. This realization is an important step, but challenging work is still required to develop the ecosystem that will deliver the standard's true potential.
We have seen this process set in motion in two areas during the past year: computer security and the smart grid. From a standards-life-cycle perspective, these seemingly unrelated areas are in exactly the same place; they are both exploring the definition of their standards ecosystem.
Historically, the computer-security industry has worked independently, producing targeted solutions for specific problems, such as malware, phishing and spyware. Given the exponential growth in security threats, however, the computer-security industry today has a clear motivation to optimize cooperation when combating threats.
The security industry has identified the IEEE as its home for collaboration. In the IEEE Standards Association's Industry Connections Security Group (ICSG), which was announced in August, competitors pool experience and resources. The group's initial target is an efficient process for sharing information on security threats, along with documenting and promoting best practices.