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Open Security Reference Architecture

IT Security is a complex field. People, processes and technology are crucial parts of an architecture to reduce risks. Our certified experts love to solve your cyber security challenges. Detecting what is not good with your current security is the simple work. You can find many companies that launch automated test suites based on open source tools that tell you that you are not secure enough. However the real challenge is designing solutions that are secure.

Open publications for cyber security are still rare. Despite the great work of the OWASP foundation many valuable resources for Security are not open.

This reference architecture aims to enable you to create better and faster security solutions. You SHOULD use and reuse content that is provided in this reference architecture to prevent reinventing the wheel.

To encourage collaboration for this project this reference architecture is of course free and open (cc-by-sa).

This project is supported by the BM-Support Foundation,

Current status: We are working on a update for the 2023 hardcopy version of this publication. We will focus on security only for this update, so 'Open Reference Architecture for Security'. But the online version will always be up-to-date! So join the party and join the team to make this Open resource better!

The initial version (2015) of this project was called the 'Open Reference Architecture for Security and Privacy'.However we decided to split the project in a security Playbook and a privacy playbook. Content for this Security Reference Architecture is partly derived from the original 2015-2021 publication, but heavily edited and improved.


We encourage all security professionals to improve this reference architecture. Join the team to:

  • Add open (cc-by) security resources.
  • Add security models.
  • Create better graphics and text.
  • Add threat models that can be easily reused.
  • Improve criteria on selecting OSS solutions for security.
  • Create open tools to speed up the process of making your security architectures or designs with use of this reference architecture.

Your contributions to this Guide are greatly appreciated as long as contributions fit within the scope and goal of this security reference architecture. As an open project, this Security Architecture shall always remain vendor-neutral and freely available for all to use. If you contribute you will of course get credit (mentioned in upcoming publications).

  • This reference architecture is intended to be a helpful resource aimed at professional security architects and engineers.
  • Contributions must fit within the scope and goal of this security reference architecture.
  • All contributions to resources must be open. E.g. cc-by licensed)

For small corrections or input, just send me an email. For larger contributions, please create a pull request.


When you submit text to which you hold the copyright, you agree to license it under:

  • Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).