Date: 08 Feb 2001

The Ponder Policy Specification Language

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Abstract

The Ponder language provides a common means of specifying security policies that map onto various access control implementation mechanisms for firewalls, operating systems, databases and Java. It supports obligation policies that are event triggered condition-action rules for policy based management of networks and distributed systems. Ponder can also be used for security management activities such as registration of users or logging and auditing events for dealing with access to critical resources or security violations. Key concepts of the language include roles to group policies relating to a position in an organisation, relationships to define interactions between roles and management structures to define a configuration of roles and relationships pertaining to an organisational unit such as a department. These reusable composite policy specifications cater for the complexity of large enterprise information systems. Ponder is declarative, strongly-typed and object-oriented which makes the language flexible, extensible and adaptable to a wide range of management requirements.