Can We Ever Build Survivable Systems from COTS Components?

  • Howard F. Lipson
  • Nancy R. Mead
  • Andrew P. Moore
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2348)


Using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to build large, complex systems has become the standard way that systems are designed and implemented by government and industry. Much of the literature on COTS-based systems concedes that such systems are not suitable for mission-critical applications. However, there is considerable evidence that COTS-based systems are being used in domains where significant economic damage and even loss-of-life are possible in the event of a major system failure or compromise. Can we ever build such systems so that the risks are commensurate with those typically taken in other areas of life and commerce?

This paper describes a risk-mitigation framework for deciding when and how COTS components can be used to build survivable systems. Successful application of the framework will require working with vendors to reduce the risks associated with using the vendors’ products, and improving and making the best use of your own organization’s risk-management skills.


Survivable System Capability Maturity Model Software Engineer Institute Custom Development Software Engineering Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard F. Lipson
    • 1
  • Nancy R. Mead
    • 1
  • Andrew P. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.CERT® Coordination CenterSoftware Engineering InstitutePittsburghUSA

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