Background Half Wave
Application Security

What is security by design?

Security by design is a development approach that prioritizes integrating security practices and processes across the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC). The goal of this framework is to identify and remediate security risks as soon as possible in the development process. This approach also aims to reduce mean time to repair for security issues when software and services go live.

Security by design establishes security practices as integral parts of the SDLC rather than afterthoughts. It allows DevSecOps teams to create software and systems that natively respond to potential threats.

While no approach is a silver bullet for cybersecurity, security by design can help reduce the frequency, outcome, and impact of attacks. The following three principles help characterize this approach:

  • Shared responsibility. Design, operations, and security teams equally share the responsibility to create defensible, reliable software and systems.
  • Radical transparency. Transparent processes improve software security. Examples of transparency include sharing feedback from customer or end-user interactions, tracking common vulnerabilities and their relationship to new developments, and communicating potential software use cases that could increase total risk with other departments.
  • Structural change. Security by design doesn't happen without structural change. At a high level, executive budget and resource support play a key role. Open lines of communication are also critical. Both internal and external feedback can help DevSecOps teams create more resilient software.

Implementing security by design begins with building a DevSecOps team with the necessary technical skills and hands-on experience. Teams must then identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities to help inform initial designs. Then, teams must establish metrics and measurements to monitor the success of by-design developments. Finally, they must implement a combination of automated processes and manual reviews to ensure goals are met.