In the recent past, the business world has seen a wave of data security breaches, such as the Wannacry ransomware attacks, that have ruined the reputation of previously stellar businesses. These breaches expose businesses to significant financial losses. While most of these businesses have had cybersecurity budgets in place to help prevent such issues, the type of approach they use when crafting cybersecurity strategies has a huge impact on how they fair against common threats.
In software development and IT projects, taking the security by design approach is a sure way to spot issues early on. It helps fix issues at the onset of a project. In fact, it is 4-5 times more expensive to fix a security issue at the production phase than at the design phase. Simply put, this approach allows businesses to be proactive in dealing with potential cybersecurity breaches.
Here is why you should consider implementing the security by design approach in your IT projects:
Cybersecurity Is All About Nurturing Trust With Key Stakeholders
While financial loss is among the biggest repercussions of a data breach, it can be resolved by pulling a few strings. If you have cyber liability insurance, recovering from the financial impact of the data breach will be easier. However, one of the lasting effects of a data breach is the lost trust between your business and customers.
Key stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and partners, believe in the performance of your IT product. They believe that they can rely on it for the confidentiality and integrity of their data, and they can always count on it to be available. Despite it taking years to build this trust, a single security issue can ruin it all. This is why focusing on strong cybersecurity measures is a necessity.
The Checkbox Mentality Isn’t A Magical Pill
With the aim of solidifying the trust that customers have in their products, some organizations simply ensure that they are compliant with common regulations. For instance, a business might focus on being PCI DSS compliant, and proving its compliance to its key stakeholders. While this approach helps to earn the trust of stakeholders, it isn’t a foolproof cybersecurity strategy at all. The thing is, relying only on these regulations as a true north is a slippery slope.
Compliance requirements consist of the threshold security requirements for an entire industry. They do not cover the individual security needs of every business in the industry. While one business can fair well by only being compliant, other businesses might need to take some extra steps. The last thing your business needs is having a breach bringing up the loopholes that are caused by complying with regulation and leaving everything else to chance.
Security Measures Shouldn’t Be An Afterthought
When designing security tools, businesses typically weigh between creating the tools with optimal functionality in mind or the profitability of the business. Design teams do not work in silos, and they are often facing competition from other businesses looking to take their product to the market place early and dominate it. As a result, c-executives will typically call for such teams to build their tools within the shortest time possible.
However, this often results in design team compromising on certain aspects of the product, such as functionality and security. The goal is to revisit these issues and deal with the technical debt later on once the product is already in the market. Although this might seem like a sustainable solution, it isn’t. It is typically tougher to retrofit security controls into an already complete product than one that is in the design phase. There is a high chance of incompatibility and other issues arising down the line. The best course of action is balancing profitability and functionality when designing an IT product.
Security By Design Is The Ideal Solution To These Issues
The security by design approach ensures that you factor in security throughout the lifecycle of a product or project. Whether you are at the planning or the testing phase, security has to be a cornerstone rather than an afterthought. The implemented security measures should not only be sustainable but also flexible enough for any changes that come up during the product development lifecycle.
Sure, technical debt is bound to arise within the development of a product or project. However, using the agile approach can help prevent this debt from piling up. It will also make it possible to prioritize security controls by choosing between the vital ones and the trivial ones. Security by design allows you to be proactive enough in preventing common security risks from the onset of the project.
For it to be effective enough, however, you need to commit to testing the various security controls you implement throughout the development lifecycle. Identifying issues with the controls early on will prevent catastrophic issues in the long run.
The trust of your stakeholders is an invaluable asset- you should safeguard it by whichever means possible. Treating security as an afterthought is a stepping stone to leaving your business vulnerable to security breaches and losing the trust of your stakeholders. Embrace the security by design mentality to protect the interests of all stakeholders.