6 Ways to Become A Security-First Organization

A security-first strategy is a competitive advantage in business today. Leaders want to create superior and secure digital experiences for their customers. Companies who put security first stand to gain a competitive edge in their market.

In this article we’ll explain what a security-first model looks like. And we’ll review how to enable a security-first practice with 6 DevSecOps techniques.

Getting a closer look at a security-first practice

Digital-first companies share common traits. They are customer-centric. Employees depend on constant connectivity. They rely on complex data sets pulled from many systems. And they rely on autonomous machines to execute and manage processes. They also understand that a larger digital footprint makes them a target for hacking.

In recognizing the risks, digital-first organizations also tend to put security first. They design responsive security practices to build cyber resilience to mitigate risk.

Here are 5 ways security-first organizations are building cyber resilience:

Empowering security leaders

Giving CISO’s a seat at the decision-making table puts security at the front and center of everything. They can enforce the principle that “security is everyone’s responsibility” and make it the best practice of operating.

Involve employees

Empower employees to become guardians of their data and privacy. Design guidelines for best security practices for employees to follow.

Putting security at the core of the customer experience

Often customers bear the brunt of a security breach. When all leaders agree to enforce “Code as Security” they are ensuring to protect sensitive customer data.

Extending security policies beyond the organization

To protect procedures and relationships with third parties, scaling security practices beyond the walls of the company can protect vulnerable data and processes that take place outside of the organization.

Enabling a security-first practice with 6 DevSecOps techniques

DevSecOps joins development, operations, and security. It is a practice and mindset enabled by technology to increase the speed to value, in a secure and compliant way.

The following 6 DevSecOps techniques can enable a security-first practice in any organization.

  1. Code analysis – deliver code in small batches to quickly identify security vulnerabilities.
  2. Change management – increase speed and efficiency by allowing anyone to submit changes, then determine whether the change is good or bad.
  3. Compliance monitoring – be in a constant state of compliance to be ready for an audit at any time This should include gathering evidence of GDPR compliance, PCI compliance, and more.
  4. Threat investigation – identify potential emerging threats with each code update and be able to respond quickly.
  5. Vulnerability assessment – identify new vulnerabilities with code analysis, then analyze how quickly they are being responded to and patched.
  6. Security training – train software and IT engineers with guidelines for set routines.

Becoming security-first is equal parts technology and a cultural mind shift. An attitude that security, governance and compliance are important and relevant should persist across every level of an organization.

Next, we’ll cover the cultural shifts required to maintain the security-first model.

Shifting the company culture towards a security-first mindset

Security is traditionally introduced near the end of the development lifecycle at deployment. This approach can slow down product releases. When the code fails security screening it’s returned to development for patch updates. Putting in place a “Security as Code” mentality can ensure that code is secure from the beginning. This mentality can also lay the foundation that “everyone is responsible for security.” 

While most can adopt the notion that “everyone is responsible for security”, Security leaders can change how they view modern technologies. These tools foster agility and fast availability of software releases. One effective way Security, IT and Business leaders can align is through meaningful collaboration. And each holding a seat at the decision-making table.

“By developing security as code, we will strive to create awesome products and services, provide insights directly to developers, and generally favor iteration over trying to always come up with the best answer before a deployment. We will operate like developers to make security and compliance available to be consumed as services. We will unlock and unblock new paths to help others see their ideas become a reality.”

DevSecOps Manifesto

Technologies that help companies become security-first

Modern technologies enable companies to become efficient and agile with fewer resources. The same technologies can help organizations make security services more responsive and effective.

Below are the types of technologies that foster responsiveness and agility.

  • Cloud platforms: Enable scalable process computing, centralized data access, and flexible work flows.
  • Automation tools: Reduce coding errors, increase process efficiency, speed up identification and responsiveness of security vulnerabilities
  • Microservices and Containers: Execute application services in small contained batches to speed up execution, and reduce processing overhead
  • DevOps technologies (CI/CD pipelines): Feed the continuous integration and continuous development pipeline through security check protocols to ensure the code is secure from the start
  • Identity management platforms: Act as a SSO gateway to all business applications, centralized app provisioning, and authentication protocols
  • AI/ML-driven code analysis solutions: Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies prove to be more effective than humans in identifying and responding to faulty code that leaves organizations vulnerable to breaches.

Conclusion: Ready to become security-first?

All organizations are at risk for a cyber attack in the digital age. The speed of digital innovation reinforces the need for a security-first practice. As IT, Business, and Security align, becoming a security-first company is evermore possible.

Work with a trusted technology partner like JDK Technologies, to implement a security-first strategy at your organization. Get in touch.

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