The Smart Guide to Product Security

Product Security

Everyone is concerned about cyber security. Almost every day, you hear about product flaws that result in security breaches at some organization. 

Cyber hackers continuously seek methods to uncover flaws in whatever device they can connect to as the globe becomes increasingly interconnected. These devices are examples of cars, smart devices, medical equipment, and other associated products. 

Simultaneously, cyber security professionals are constantly attempting to keep their organizations from becoming the next news article.

Sadly, several products we are connected to are not designed with security in mind. As a result, they can be easy targets for cybercriminals. 

It is becoming increasingly important to embrace product security throughout the product lifecycle, from concept to development to maintenance and administration.

What Is the Meaning of Product Security?

Simply put, product security refers to our efforts to include safety in the goods we manufacture. 

It is a tailored security framework comprising an organization’s people, procedures, technologies, and training. This helps ensure that the products you make and manufacture has security measures. 

It generally consists of various stages directed at:

  • Identifying product security flaws
  • Protecting/defending the product through activities such as vulnerability cleanup and hardening
  • Responding to product cybersecurity incidents
  • Regularly reviewing and enhancing the security of a product, similar to corporate data security

Before we go into the specifics of product security, let’s define a computer security vulnerability.

What Is a Computer Security Vulnerability?

Simply put, a computer system vulnerability is a gap or deficiency in a system or network that anyone could attack to cause harm or allow an attacker to manipulate the system.

This differs from a “cyber threat.” Unlike a cyber threat, computer system vulnerabilities are present on the network asset (for example, a computer, database, or even a specific application) from the start. 

Furthermore, they are rarely the product of an attacker’s deliberate effort—though cybercriminals will use these defects in their attacks, prompting people to confuse the words.

Here are some types of security vulnerabilities to be aware of.

What Are the Four Main Types of Security Vulnerability?

To make things simple, computer security flaws are classified into various categories based on various factors. These factors are:

Where they occur, what created them, and how they might be exploited

These vulnerability classes are divided into several broad categories:

Network Vulnerabilities

These flaws in a network’s hardware or software allow an outsider to gain access. 

Wi-Fi access points that aren’t protected and firewalls that you may not have adequately installed are just a few examples.

Operating System Vulnerabilities

These are flaws in an operating system that cybercriminals can use to obtain access to or destroy a device on which you have installed the operating system. 

Default superuser accounts, which may exist in some OS installations, and hidden backdoor applications are examples.

Human Vulnerabilities

In many cybersecurity frameworks, the human aspect is the weakest link. 

User errors can readily disclose sensitive information, provide attackers with exploitable access points, or cause systems to malfunction.

Process Vulnerabilities

Specific process controls, or a lack thereof, might lead to vulnerabilities. One instance is the usage of weak passwords, which might be vulnerable to human error.

How Is Product Security Considered During Product Development?

It would be best if you embedded the safety of all data systems across the business and product development lifecycle. 

As a result, security should be layered across the product development lifecycle, not just sprinkled on at the end.

Here are four tips for incorporating security into the product development process.

1. Start From the Base and Gradually Build Up

Ask yourself, “What security measures can I design that are intrinsically part of the product?” before you begin developing a product. 

How do I improve the level of security protocols throughout the product lifecycle?” and 

How do I evolve the level of security protocols during the product’s life cycle?

The first step is to devise a security plan. To accomplish this:

  • Implement a multi-layered security ecosystem with a thorough review plan that involves code review, internal scanning, third-party penetration testing, and other procedures that combine to form a holistic strategy.
  • Develop a plan B and C for any possible hazards discovered, with step-by-step guidelines on who, what, when, where, why, and how for all employees who may be affected.
  • Instilling customer data protection in workplace culture implies that every employee plays a role.

A white-hat hacker may lead your team, and they would always look for ways to get around our security protocols. 

The team is responsible for product development from start to finish, ensuring safety is at the forefront of everything we do. 

Hiring experienced hackers can help you find flaws in your product development process and, as a result, create a more secure product that protects your customers’ personal information.

2. The Journey, Not Just the Destination, Determines the Quality of the Product

While giving any product or service to your customers, it goes without saying that quality should be a top priority. 

Procedures must be in place across the business to ensure you achieve the essential quality when developing a product.

Consider forming a group or method to oversee quality throughout the development process. Your team must build a quality assurance procedure to improve and stabilize operations. 

DMAIC guides product development (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). 

Frequent code reviews with senior technical workers to guarantee accuracy and development standards and continuous regression testing are part of the process.

Throughout the development lifecycle, concentrating on quality assurance and detecting vulnerabilities streamlines security operations and decreases risk for your company and its customers.

3. Enlighten

As per the Harvard Business Review, the staff is to blame for 60% of all cybersecurity incidents. 

Training the employees on security procedures, their role in security, and how it pertains to their day-to-day jobs is critical. This helps to protect the security of the product they operate on and the clients they serve.

There are many different ways to educate someone. 

To ensure employee involvement, you must reach out to them where they are, whether through webinars, all-hands meetings, or a spoof phishing effort. 

The best offensive is a good defense, as they say in sports, and you can say the same for cybersecurity. 

Your company will realize the benefits of reducing human error in the long run.

Although not all employees are directly involved in product development, they must all remain involved and educated about their abilities. 

Lifting the hood and providing additional product facts with your entire team will increase their commitment to sales and defending the products.

Let your product development team, for instance, present an update on products under development once a week, explaining what each one does and why it is essential to them as employees. 

Such activities can aid in engaging and educating your entire crew about your products to attain maximum security.

4. Think Ahead When You’re Designing

You should deploy fault and security fixes promptly, creating products with an agile approach for excellent scalability. 

Scalability and product upgrades are substantially faster with SaaS technology, as are security updates. 

Developing agile products allows your company to plan for future modifications and scale efficiently, irrespective of the number of users or region.

When challenges eventually arise, prudent investments in IT infrastructure can save innumerable hassles and financial hardships. Take Hilton, for example. 

To enable it to carry out digital services at scale, the hospitality firm invested $550 million in an IT infrastructure revamp of its system.

With a significant upfront expense, Hilton is looking ahead to provide technology that serves its stakeholders daily. This helps because they are well equipped when a problem arises. 

Your company must anticipate and prepare for challenges that may develop in the future.

Putting Together a Product Security Team

Your business creates technology. 

When is it appropriate to form a Product Security team? 

What kind of “security guard” do you start with? 

What do they do for a living?

Let’s talk about the types of workers, recruiting, and programs that make up a Product Security team. More significantly, the stage at which they should exist in an organization.

Employees

We’ll go over the many archetypes in a Product Security program. These archetypes don’t always match precisely, and the better the candidate, the more of these positions they’ll likely play.

Leadership

Leadership pushes security into mainstream culture, which your codebase mirrors.

You can’t discover security flaws until you search for them deliberately and institutionalizing this kind of monitoring is difficult. 

Among the most critical aspects of leadership is to avoid the shame game and keep product engineers coming to security for sound counsel. 

Maintaining relationships with product teams requires a high level of respect and reputation.

Finally, leadership takes on the role of team historian, recognizing and learning from previous failures to improve future defenses. 

This person should be the calm warrior who keeps things cool when the team is in the incident management phase.

Consultant

Product teams actively ask these individuals to participate in discussions because of their exceptional communication skills. 

They may have a competence comparable to your leadership roles, but they are more useful on a project level rather than driving the culture as a whole. 

They can provide critical criticism that is widely accepted, and they are well-versed in presenting vulnerability details and remedy procedures.

Builder

The actual software engineer with long-term risk-reduction strategies is the builder. 

The kind that can produce a Brakeman, CSP, or an immune system. They might be able to solve a few flaws, but they shouldn’t. They’re best suitable for working on systemic flaws. 

For example, if product developers work with multiple authentication platforms (inconsistent or worthless logs, password storage, protocols), they can unify them from the ground up. Big projects have resulted in big wins.

Breaker

A hostile intellect programmed to defy your security expectations. It can tell you whether or not something is resistant to an attack. 

These professions usually have long-term trade-off defenses for a broad understanding of assault strategies. You can ask this person, “Is this secure?”

Even if a hacker can’t create code, they can surprise an experienced software engineer with an exploit. 

However, this doesn’t mean you should hire them; comparable engineers better maintain long-term relationships with engineering firms.

Fixer

This engineer thrives on resolving critical defects, taking ownership of the commitment, and shepherding the short-term fix. 

They place a premium on the number of commits they receive. They are very familiar with the software and understand how each piece of infrastructure interacts with the others. 

The sound engineers are generally dissatisfied with the status of the code they deal with, and this dissatisfaction fuels their motivation.

The solution is that every engineer on every team should be motivated to take on this role.

Specialist

There’s a chance you have a few high-risk regions. It may be a need for privacy from large amounts of user data. 

If you’re a bitcoin corporation, perhaps it’s crypto. Malware analysis, market manipulation, or credit card theft are all examples of fraud. 

It will be beneficial to have a handful of persons act as in-house authority for a specific risk. 

Program Manager

As the team expands, coordinating external consultant feedback of widely divergent products (and their follow-up mitigations), dealing with vendor checklists, occasionally speaking with prospective customer security teams, and handling the ultimate success of various programs will become apparent. 

A competent program manager will lead the development of high-impact frameworks or complicated refactoring with a diverse team of engineers. 

They monitor the overall success of numerous programs and work with security teams.

Bonus: Learn everything about the program manager. 

Champions

Regarding the organization, you can have many mainstream product engineers relative to Product Security experts. 

Nevertheless, as you promote security awareness throughout the organization, you’ll find that champions emerge from the shadows to assist. 

You can assign them to other teams, which encourages collaboration. 

Conclusion

Protect your product as best you can. Having a computer security team trained to defend against possible breaches is also essential. 

The product security team is in charge of ensuring that the product is secure and safe to use. 

A product security team is a mastermind with new ways to improve the product

They make sure that the vulnerabilities are not present in the code. They also ensure that other teams meet the requirements, impacting code security. 

The greatest thing about them is that they share everybody’s interest in seeing the product grow and improve daily.

Crafting great product requires great tools. Try Chisel today, it's free forever.