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Solaris Trusted Extensions Label Administration
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Analyzing the Requirements for Each Label

The security administrator agrees that the set of labels that are mandated by the legal department is a useful starting point. However, the further analysis is needed before the labels can be encoded.


The CONFIDENTIAL: INTERNAL_USE_ONLY label is for information that is proprietary to the company but which, because of its low level of sensitivity, can be distributed to all employees. All employees have signed nondisclosure agreements before starting employment. Information with this label might also be distributed to others. For example, the employees of vendors and contractors who have signed a nondisclosure agreement can receive the information. Because the Internet can be snooped, information with this label cannot be sent over the Internet. The information can be sent over email within the company.

Candidates for the CONFIDENTIAL: INTERNAL_USE_ONLY label include the following:

  • Spending guidelines

  • Internal job postings


The CONFIDENTIAL: NEED_TO_KNOW label is intended for information that is proprietary to the company, has a higher level of sensitivity than INTERNAL_USE_ONLY, and has a more limited audience. Distribution is limited to employees who need to know the information. Other people who need to know the information and who have signed nondisclosure agreements might also be in the audience.

For example, if only the group of people working in a particular project should see certain information, then NEED_TO_KNOW should be used on that information. Whenever information should be restricted to a particular group, the name of the group should be specified on the paper version of the information.

Having the name of a group in this label makes it clear that the information should not be given to anyone outside of the group. Information with this label cannot be sent over the Internet but it can be sent over email within the company.

Candidates for the NEED_TO_KNOW label include the following:

  • Product design documents

  • Project details

  • Employee Status Change form


The CONFIDENTIAL: REGISTERED classification is intended for information that is proprietary to the company, has a very high level of sensitivity, and could significantly harm the company if released. Registered information must be numbered and be tracked by the owner. Each copy must be assigned to a specific person. The copy must be returned to the owner for destruction after being read. Copies can be made only by the owner of the information. Use of brownish-red paper is recommended because this color cannot be copied.

This label is to be used when only one specific group of people should be allowed to see the proprietary information. This information cannot be shown to anyone who is not authorized by the owner. The information cannot be shown to employees of other companies who have not signed a nondisclosure agreement, even if the owner authorizes the disclosure. Information with this label cannot be sent through email.

Candidates for the CONFIDENTIAL: REGISTERED label include the following:

  • End of quarter financial information that has not yet been released

  • Sales forecasts

  • Marketing forecasts

Names of Groups With NEED_TO_KNOW Label

The security administrator decided that the NEED_TO_KNOW label should contain the names of groups or departments. The security Administrator asked for suggestions about what words to use to define groups or areas of interest within the organization. The following items were in the initial list:

  • Engineering

  • Executive Management

  • Finance

  • Human Resources

  • Legal

  • Manufacturing

  • Marketing

  • Sales

  • System Administration

Later, the security administrator added the Project Team group, which enabled all members of the Engineering and Marketing groups to share project data.

Understanding the Set of Labels

The next step is to resolve the following issues:

  • How to use the classifications and compartments to encode the labels and clearances

  • Which handling instructions should appear on printed output

The security administrator used a large board. Pieces of paper were marked with the words that should be in the labels, as shown in Figure 6-5. This setup graphed the relationships. The pieces could be rearranged until all the pieces fit together.

The administrator drafted the following label relationships:

  • The four labels are hierarchical with the label that contains REGISTERED the highest. The PUBLIC label is the lowest.

  • Only one label needs to be associated with group names

    The list of people who are cleared to receive registered information is limited on a case by case basis. Therefore, REGISTERED does not need any group names. INTERNAL_USE_ONLY applies to all employees and people who have signed nondisclosure agreements and PUBLIC labels are for everybody. Therefore, INTERNAL_USE_ONLY and PUBLIC labels do not need further qualification. The NEED_TO_KNOW label does need to be associated with non-hierarchical words, such as NEED_TO_KNOW MARKETING or NEED_TO_KNOW ENGINEERING. The words that identify the group or department can also be included in a user's clearance, as part of establishing that user's need to know.

  • Each of the labels except PUBLIC requires the person who is accessing the information to have signed a nondisclosure agreement.

    A phrase such as NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT REQUIRED would be a good reminder that this requirement exists.

  • The handling instructions on banner and trailer pages should have clear wording on how to handle the information. How to handle the information is based on the classification and on any group name that can appear in the label.

    Along with information on the sensitivity of the printer output, handling instructions should print that a nondisclosure agreement is required when the label requires such an agreement.

Figure 6-5 Sample Planning Board for Label Relationships
Illustration shows a board to help administrators plan label assignments.
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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire