March 14, 2014

FIPS and sharks

The CMVP recently emerged from "Shark Week" with all limbs attached. In fact, the results of "Shark Week" are even better than fresh fish tacos with guacamole at the beach!

The CMVP probably has a different interpretation of "Shark Week" than I do, but I don't want to interrupt any of the Reviewers to ask them for a definition (they've been busy).

At the beginning of 2014, the CMVP was faced with an enormous backlog of FIPS 140-2 reports to review -- more than 150 reports were waiting for Reviewers to complete their initial pass. When I saw this report backlog, I feared that we might start seeing CMVP review times of 1 year or more. "Shark Week" was CMVP's strategy to attack the report queue.

No mercy.
No phone calls.
No meetings.

They became sharks. Reports were their prey.

How did they do?

Much better than the seals swimming in open waters. The March 10, 2014 Modules in Process report shows only 70 reports are in the "Review Pending" or "In Review" columns --  that's more than a 50% reduction in review backlog.

There's still work to do -- the report also shows 112 reports in the "Coordination" column. The "Coordination" phase indicates that the CMVP has completed their initial review and clarifying questions have been sent to the testing laboratory. This is the highest I've seen the Coordination value. The Vendor, Laboratory, and CMVP Reviewers all share responsibility in moving the report out of the "Coordination" phase so the certificate process can begin.

Will we see 3-4 month review times again this year? It could happen (and I would have never believed it in January).

Next week is InfoGard's "Shark Week."  We have some report comments to attack!

Mark Minnoch is an Account Manager at InfoGard Laboratories.  He was chased to shore once while surfing after seeing a shark fin that actually belonged to a dolphin.


  1. Good Article... and the point to point explanation is too good. I liked it