"We've definitely seen that it takes a while to get all the involved companies to put something like this into production; we've essentially been forced to sit on it for almost a year as companies try to implement it, but this is real progress," Nigriny said.
"The name of the game is interoperability, and all the members view this as a sound way to deal with supply chain security," he said. "Today the only way to address this is to have a prime contractor centralize data or share it via traditional e-mail and buy insurance policies against leaks, which doesn't do anything to protect the data itself."
The TSCP will continue to work on its federated document and ID management projects, with releases for both efforts planned for 2008, he said.
Labeling the consortium as an effective manner for validating security strategies and technology investments, officials with Chicago-based Boeing said they are already working to adopt the group's guidelines and plan to continue doing so.
"Being able to work with the subject matter experts from within each company directly is of tremendous value, and the pilots and interoperability testing also helps validate security approaches in a cooperative lab environment, which helps reduce risk," said Jim Cisneros, deputy chief information officer in the Future Combat Systems unit at Boeing.
"It's the right thing to do, and doing it in this type of forum allows us to understand where information exchange problems occur in common and work together to introduce adjustments that will work across our multiple programs and minimize the need for program-unique solutions," he said.
Developing secure collaboration and communications systems in-house has proven costly in the past, the executive admitted.
In addressing the issue of whether or not adoption of centralized standards among the involved parties might make it easier for attackers to infiltrate the entire group of participants when successful, Cisneros said there is always a risk of such events, but he doesn't feel that the collaboration will have that effect.
"There will always be challenges no matter what we do because the technology constantly changes, but once again, working in this cooperative manner should provide an ongoing forum for us to work with to constantly upgrade our defenses to minimize that from occurring," he said.