Security by Design is a principle or methodology that we at Eclarity use for improving an organisation’s cybersecurity through automating its data security controls, and formalising a robust design of infrastructure to include security in all of its IT management operations.
Security by Design focuses on the principle of preventing a cybersecurity breach rather than having to address the problem if a breach occurs, with all the hassle involved in recovering and restoring systems afterward.
What is Security by Design?
The main principle of Security by Design is to have firms consider cybersecurity throughout a whole lifecycle perspective. It means that companies consider cybersecurity from the start of a project and use software developed by engineers, aimed at reducing the possibility of defects that could compromise a company’s information security. Security by Design requires a comprehensive view of cybersecurity risk management to be an effective approach. Similarly to the product development lifecycle, Security by Design begins with an idea and concludes with delivery and support.
Security by Design principles ensures that a company manages, monitors and maintains cybersecurity risk policy and management on an ongoing basis. Although the Security by Design approach to security system design is not new, the cloud has made it much easier for software engineers to design and execute it.
One way to look at Security by Design in layman’s terms is in terms of an analogy. You’ve just got a new motorbike which is worth £10K, so rather than just using the usual lock on your garage to keep your new ride safe, you install an extra garage door lock, buy several alarmed chains that can lock your bike to the floor inside the garage, brick up the windows – so they’re inaccessible and also no one can see through them – and then install CCTV and motion sensor lights.
Essentially, you layer up various forms of security, to make a thief’s job harder, or nearly impossible. Security by Design uses this principle; all the systems work together to provide security, taking a more proactive approach that integrates security from the start.
Here are some of the basic principles of Security by Design:
1. Reduce the attack surface
Many companies have a ‘flat’ IT network, with everything connected – a logical approach as it makes the system less complicated for users. However, this also makes it a more vulnerable system to break into for a cyber attacker, much like the old, single garage lock.
A Security by Design approach installs blocks to reduce the attack surface, meaning that any attacker breaching one section, won’t be able to access everything – making recovery an easier task. Keeping different applications on separate network systems also helps keep sections secure, for example, CCTV, door control systems and even separate internet zones.#
2. Reduce the risk of user breach
The weakest link in most businesses is the user, who may download software, reuse passwords or just receive viruses hidden in phishing scam emails. Making sure that staff know how to use their internet facilities, how to spot scams and how often passwords have to be updated and how complex these should be is crucial. This is helped by implementing the principle of least privilege, which means that a user has the minimum set of privileges to perform any specific task, including administrative privileges, so only an administrator can download tasks or empowers users for specific tasks. Solid and regularly updated training for all staff is essential for solid security.
3. Defence in depth
The defence in depth principle of Security by Design means having multiple security measures that handle hazards in diverse ways to safeguard an application. Rather than having only a single layer of validation, the defence in depth principle requires many layers of validation and logging tools. For example, instead of allowing a user to get in with merely a password and username, it would employ an IP check, Captcha system, recording of their login attempts and so on. We offer a range of security solutions to help your business achieve this.
4. Failing securely
This concept is understanding that things will fail, so considers what will happen to the system when this happens and aims to put in place a secure, digital locking mechanism that locks down parts of the system. Similar to the concept of how a security badge might give you access to sensitive areas of a building to execute your job, as with the concept of least privilege, but what happens if the power goes out?
If a ‘fails open’ system is in place then all of the locks stop working, meaning all the doors are accessible allowing you to access other, normally off-limits, parts of the building. The Fails Securely system means that all the doors lock – and no snooping can take place. A system intended to fail securely will only give access to components of the system when each step of the procedure is successfully completed. At Eclarity, we offer business continuity solutions to help your business should the worst happen.
5. Avoid security by obscurity
This concept of security cannot be fully relied upon. If the software or programme demands that its administration URL is hidden to be secure, then it is not at all secure. Cybercriminals can find it, even if you think it’s hidden. Security controls should be in place to make your application safe without obscuring key functionality or source code.
6. Keep security simple yet secure
When implementing security measures for applications, it is advisable to avoid complicated security controls as complex mechanisms can increase the risk of errors. Should a security flaw be identified in an application, then developers need to identify the root source of the problem, repair it and then thoroughly test it. If the programme employs design patterns, the problem is likely to be present in numerous systems, so identifying all affected systems is essential.
7. Threat modelling
Threat modelling is another element of a Security by Design system. Threat modelling is a security engineering practice that is used to document hidden security hazards that are not always evident or predicted.
The threat modelling technique seeks to identify potential attack vectors and prioritise the risks to which software is vulnerable so that development teams can focus their efforts on the most important concerns. The benefits of using threat modelling are the increased understanding of the potential impact and priority of attacks as well as the capacity to assess security decisions against design goals so that relevant countermeasures are built into an application.
Security by Design for your business
Security by Design is a principle that encompasses all your business’s IT network systems. It is an approach in development that focuses on making software as secure as feasible from the beginning. It also helps to concentrate on optimal programming methods.
It is essential to note that the Security by Design principles will not entirely protect the business’s data and information. However, the method seeks to improve the security measures that can reduce risks and weak points by requesting that safety aspects are considered from the start of infrastructure development.
Eclarity has been designing security for companies successfully for over two decades and enabling companies to stay as safe as possible from cyberthreat.
Get in touch today to see how we can curate a Security by Design system for your business.