Integrating security into the design of systems and software from the beginning leads to more secure systems in several ways:
Early Identification of Risks and Threats
When security is considered during the design phase, development teams can identify potential risks, threats and vulnerabilities early on. This allows them to design appropriate controls and countermeasures into the system before implementation begins.
If security is only addressed after development is underway, it can be difficult and expensive to retrofit security controls into an existing design. Integrating security from the start helps catch issues early when they are easier and cheaper to fix.
Designing with security in mind from the beginning allows developers to build security controls into the architecture and design of the system. This is known as risk-based design.
The system is designed with an understanding of the potential threats and risks it may face. Security controls are then integrated into the design to mitigate those risks. This leads to a more robust and secure system design.
Secure by Default
When security is integrated into the design, systems can be built to be “secure by default.” This means that security controls are enabled by default and the system is configured securely from the start.
This contrasts with traditional “add-on” security where controls are bolted on after development. Secure by default systems require fewer changes and updates to patch vulnerabilities after deployment.
Built-in Security Controls
Integrating security into the design allows security controls to become an inherent part of the system. Controls can be “baked in” to the system architecture, configurations, and processes from the start.
This leads to security controls that are more robust, automated, and integrated with the system’s normal operations. They also require less ongoing management and maintenance.
More Thorough Testing
Security testing can be more thorough when integrated into the design and development process. Testing can span unit, integration and system testing to identify security issues at multiple levels.
This contrasts with end-of-line security testing where only the final product is assessed. Integrating security testing earlier finds and fixes issues sooner.
In summary, integrating security into the design of systems leads to more secure systems by enabling early risk identification, risk-based design, secure-by-default architectures, built-in security controls, and more thorough testing. This “shift left” approach helps build security into systems from the ground up.