Understanding Security by Design Concept

6 min read

Cybersecurity has emerged as a foundational pillar upon which numerous aspects of business operations rely. Whether your organisation is a large enterprise or a small business, ensuring the security of your network is no longer an option but a necessity. The repercussions of cyberattacks can reverberate for an extended period.

The frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks continue to soar. In 2022, there was a startling 87% surge in IoT malware attacks, and the utilisation of AI has further amplified the volume of attacks. Hence, shifting from a reactive to a proactive cybersecurity approach is imperative. One such approach that has garnered attention is the practice of “Secure by Design.”

International partners have embarked on addressing commonly exploited vulnerabilities. A recent advisory underscores the principles of Secure by Design, underscoring the global nature of the cybersecurity threat landscape and the imperative for collective action to safeguard critical infrastructure.

This article will delve into implementing Secure by Design principles, elucidating their paramount significance in the contemporary cybersecurity landscape.

The Landscape of Modern Cyberthreats

Cybersecurity threats have undergone a profound transformation over the years. The era when merely installing antivirus software could safeguard your computer has long passed. Present-day cybercriminals employ highly sophisticated tactics, and the potential consequences of an attack extend far beyond the nuisance of a virus.

Modern cyber threats encompass a wide spectrum of attacks, including:


This form of malware encrypts data and demands a ransom for decryption, often entailing substantial costs for businesses.


Deceptive emails or messages are used to dupe individuals into disclosing sensitive information. Astonishingly, 83% of companies experience a phishing attack each year.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

These represent prolonged cyberattacks directed at pilfering sensitive data.

Zero-Day Exploits

These attacks target vulnerabilities that have yet to be identified by software developers.

IoT Vulnerabilities

Hackers exploit weaknesses in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to compromise networks.

The evolving nature of these threats underscores the need for a proactive cybersecurity stance. Rather than reacting to attacks after they occur, the goal is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Understanding “Secure by Design”

“Secure by Design” constitutes a contemporary cybersecurity approach that entails the integration of security measures into the foundational structure of a system, application, or device right from the outset. It fundamentally entails regarding security as an inherent component of the development process rather than appending it as an afterthought.

For businesses of all types, there are two key avenues for translating this approach into their cybersecurity strategies:

Vendor Assessment

When procuring hardware or software, businesses should inquire about the adoption of Secure by Design practices by suppliers. If a supplier does not adhere to these principles, it might be prudent to explore alternative vendors.

Internal Implementation

Internally, businesses can incorporate Secure by Design principles when strategizing infrastructure upgrades or enhancements to customer service. By placing cybersecurity at the core of these initiatives, rather than treating it as an afterthought, businesses can strengthen their security posture.

Key principles of Secure by Design encompass:

Risk Assessment

Identifying potential security risks and vulnerabilities during the early stages of the design process.

Standard Framework

Maintaining consistency when applying security standards, often through adherence to frameworks like CIS Critical Security Controls, HIPAA, or GDPR.

Least Privilege

Restricting access to resources to only those who require them for their respective roles.

Defence in Depth

Implementing multiple layers of security to guard against a range of threats.

Regular Updates

Ensuring that security measures remain up to date, thereby addressing emerging threats.

User Education

Educating users about best security practices and potential risks.

The Significance of “Secure by Design”

The understanding and application of Secure by Design practices hold paramount significance for several compelling reasons:

Proactive Security

Traditional cybersecurity approaches tend to be reactive, addressing security issues after they have materialised. In contrast, Secure by Design embeds security measures into the foundation of a system, mitigating vulnerabilities from the outset.

Cost Savings

Addressing security issues post-implementation can prove to be a costly endeavour, and retroactively integrating security toward the conclusion of a project can incur additional expenses. The early integration of security measures can help businesses avoid these financial outlays.

Regulatory Compliance

Numerous industries are subject to stringent regulatory requirements about data protection and cybersecurity. Secure by Design practices enhance the effectiveness of compliance initiatives, reducing the risk of unforeseen issues that could result in fines and penalties.

Reputation Management

A security breach can inflict significant damage on an organisation’s reputation. Implementing Secure by Design practices showcases a commitment to safeguarding user data and can foster trust among customers and stakeholders.


Given the continued evolution of cyber threats, Secure by Design practices bolster the resilience of systems and applications against emerging threats.

Minimising Attack Surfaces

Secure by Design focuses on reducing the attack surface of systems, enabling the identification and mitigation of potential vulnerabilities before malicious actors can exploit them.

Updating Your Cybersecurity Strategy

A cybersecurity strategy implemented five years ago may already be outdated in today’s rapidly changing landscape. If you require assistance modernising your company’s cybersecurity approach, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help. Feel free to contact us today to arrange a discussion.

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