As the shift to digital accelerates, software engineering is becoming increasingly important. The global health crisis has accelerated the shift to digital. Companies are more reliant on digital services and cloud technology than ever before. The demand for quality code delivered on time is so high. Many businesses can no longer function with a technology platform of some kind. This makes it so important to ensure that security in software engineering is at the highest possible level. In a thoughtful piece, Tech Radar discusses the importance of security in software engineering.
Yet, somehow, cybersecurity is neglected or at least not given the right amount of attention. It may be a complex area of technology, but it is vital. Too many times, the security of code is sacrificed upon the altar of fast, stable code. Many companies put off security issues until their code has been profoundly compromised. After that, security is handled in a patchwork way. This is the wrong approach. Security needs to be at the heart of coding and development efforts. The temptation is to free up resources by marginalizing security. Yet, time and again we see cases in which companies that marginalize security issues are forced to pay much more down the road, than they would have had they made security their number one issues from day one.
Look at the SolarWinds supply chain attack. This is a classic example of how marginalizing security issues can come back to bite you much harder later on. Yet businesses continue to act as if they can meet the costs of security compromises as if the costs are the same as if they had built security into their code from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the reputational damage to your brand, the legal costs and the loss of business, combine to make the costs exponentially greater than anything you can imagine. It can be very difficult to rebuild a brand that has suffered massive security problems.
The irony is that hackers are often more agile, more innovative and more determined than the businesses they attack. It cannot be emphasised enough how skillful hackers are. Businesses need to wake up to the challenges ahead and start to think seriously about the security and privacy concerns of their clients.
Whenever you gather cybersecurity specialists in the best event venues to discuss these issues, they often say they are two kinds of businesses: those that have been hacked, and those that just don’t know it. Nobody knows exactly how many businesses have been hacked because many businesses have such poor security systems that they never know they have been hacked. And many businesses that know they have been hacked, choose to remain silent to avoid the embarrassment.
Yet, there are so many tools that can be used to improve security. Robust standards have emerged that can be used as the basis for a businesses security. The tools on offer are better at securing past weaknesses and at telling businesses just where they are vulnerable.
It’s time to take security more seriously.