What is Security by Design?

What is Security by Design?

Security by Design is a design concept applied in hardware and software development. The security of hardware or software is already considered in the development process and integrated into the complete life cycle of a product. Design criteria include, for example, minimizing the attack surface, using encryption and authentication, and isolating security-relevant areas. Security is continuously tested.

What is Security by Design?

Security by Design also referred to as Secure by Design, is a design approach from the IT environment that takes into account the security of hardware or software over the complete lifecycle of a product. Already in the development phase of a product, attention is paid to compliance with security requirements, and suitable security architecture is implemented.

Security by Design extends from the brainstorming phase to the end-of-life of a product. The aim is to develop and launch products that are free of vulnerabilities from the ground up and are robust in the face of attacks and other security threats. Thanks to the early consideration of security aspects, high costs for eliminating security vulnerabilities can be avoided later in the project and during the use or operation of the hardware or software.

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Due to the increasing fusion of IT and OT (Operational Technology), also referred to as IT/OT convergence, the Security by Design approach is becoming increasingly important for Industrie 4.0 processes and the Internet of Things (IoT). Design criteria for secure products include, for example, minimizing the attack surface, using encryption and authentication, and isolating security-relevant areas.

Design principles applied to security by design

To develop hardware or software in accordance with the Security by Design approach, various design principles are applied. To ensure that products are secure and resistant to attacks or other threats from the ground up, the attack surface is minimized. This can be achieved by omitting or disabling unnecessary components.

The data or information used or processed by the systems must always be considered worthy of protection. Data is encrypted and access is only allowed to authenticated users or system components. As far as the rights of users or system components are concerned, the least privilege principle prevails.

In addition, all input must be checked, and only permitted characters or commands must be allowed. Another design principle of Security by Design is the separation of systems and the isolation of security-relevant areas. Regular security tests must be provided throughout the entire life cycle of a product. Also, it must be possible to provide and install firmware updates, security patches, or software updates until the end of a product’s life.

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Benefits of security by design

Considering the security-by-design approach offers many benefits such as:

  • Reduced risk of security holes and vulnerabilities in hardware and software
  • Lower probability of becoming a victim of an attack or other security threat
  • Higher quality and robustness of the products
  • Greater customer confidence in the products provided
  • Lower costs for the elimination of vulnerabilities and security holes
  • Reduced liability risk for companies
  • Avoidance of production downtime in Industry 4.0
  • More security in the Internet of Things