CS-Connect first steps!

By Vittorio Scarano March 8, 2023

CS-Connect first steps!

As you may remember, one of the many exciting outcomes of CS-AWARE-NEXT is the collaboration platform that has been baptized CS-Connect in the Wien meeting! CS-Connect is a collaboration layer for the ecosystem, aimed to support the organisations in their activities toward improved security.

We have collected the requirements and are now deciding what is the current basis for the development and overcoming different technological challenges. We have selected several Open Collaboration Platforms (CPs) to study and evaluate. The objective is to select the one that is best suitable for us to build CS-Connect on top, using the traditional and well-established open source development model of “Standing on the shoulder of giants” which is to guarantee quick prototyping, software stability and resiliency, as well as sustainability of complex software projects.

We developed some evaluation criteria for the available Open CPs that involve:

  • Architecture: understand the what and why of each component in the system, how they communicate with each other, and the problems they solve.
  • Customization: difficulties in making changes to the platform to extend existing functionalities, introduce new ones, and remove or disable features that do not add value to the final product.
  • Community: quality of the documentation, number of stars, forks, contributors, version and date of the latest release, and used programming languages.
  • Provisioning: understand the difficulties you would face trying to provision, deliver, and configure the platform.

We are not bothering you about all the platforms we evaluated but we will tell you who is the winner: Mattermost! Mattermost is an open-source, extensible by design collaboration platform where collaboration is implemented around channels organizable into categories. We are offered direct, private, and group messaging, calls, and file sharing, full integration with development tools: GitHub, Jenkins, etc. and code collaboration with Markdown formatting, syntax highlighting, and screen sharing.

So, what’s next? We are taking the requirements and studying how to provide of the advanced mechanisms that we think will make the collaboration very fruitful. The main idea is to realize an “hyperlinkable-object-oriented” collaboration by assigning configurable endpoints to get data related to context-dependent entities to discuss, defining relevant information connected to objects of interest and providing extendible customized widgets to visualize them. This kind of approach will allow us to adapt the system to the CS-AWARE’s specific needs and constraints and evolve/extend it based on future partner discussion outcomes. For example, we think that collaboration among the partners should be centered around the “objects” be it an incident report, or a policy, or anything that comes out from the partner CS-AWARE platform. So, no long chats, but specific interactions around the matter that matters the most (with Mattermost! Sorry for the ugly joke!) that (and here is the other funny advanced mechanism) can be linked together and referred through a dedicated intelligent hyper-linking mechanism that allows to “bring in” previous experiences in other organizations, for example, to solve and address current issues. So, stay tuned on exciting news about the new CS-Connect platform .. next time we will show you some screenshots

Vittorio Scarano and the CERICT-UNISA Team