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Why You Need to Understand “Secure by Design” Cybersecurity Practices

The significance of cybersecurity as a fundamental cornerstone for various business facets cannot be overstated. Whether you operate on a large enterprise scale or are a small business entity, the imperative nature of network security cannot be ignored, given the potential enduring repercussions of cyberattacks.

The frequency and complexity of cyberattacks are on a continual rise. In the year 2022, there was a notable 87% surge in IoT malware attacks, pointing to the escalating threat landscape. The utilisation of AI is further contributing to an increase in the volume of attacks.

It is crucial to transition from a reactive stance to a proactive approach in cybersecurity. One such approach gaining prominence is the adoption of “Secure by Design” practices.

On an international scale, collaborative efforts have been initiated to tackle commonly exploited vulnerabilities. A recent advisory has brought attention to the principles of Secure by Design. This joint endeavour underscores the global nature of the cybersecurity threat landscape and emphasises the necessity for concerted action to safeguard critical infrastructure.

This article will delve into the implementation of Secure by Design principles, shedding light on what it entails and elucidating why these principles are paramount in the contemporary cybersecurity scenario.

Today’s Modern Cyberthreats

Cybersecurity risks have undergone substantial evolution over time. The era where the installation of an antivirus sufficed for computer protection has passed. Presently, cybercriminals employ exceedingly intricate tactics, extending the potential ramifications of an attack beyond the mere inconvenience of a virus.

Contemporary cyber threats encompass an extensive array of attacks, such as:

  1. Ransomware: Malware that encrypts your data and demands a ransom for decryption. One of the costliest attacks for businesses.
  2. Phishing: Deceptive emails or messages that trick you into revealing sensitive information. Eighty-three percent of companies experience a phishing attack each year.
  3. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Long-term cyberattacks aimed at stealing sensitive data.
  4. Zero-Day Exploits: Attacks that target vulnerabilities not yet known to software developers.
  5. IoT Vulnerabilities: Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to compromise networks.

The dynamic nature of these evolving threats emphasises the necessity for a proactive stance in cybersecurity. Rather than responding to attacks post-occurrence, the aim is to forestall them from taking place in the first instance.

What Is Secure by Design?

Secure by Design represents a contemporary cybersecurity methodology that seamlessly incorporates security measures into the fundamental structure of a system, application, or device right from the outset. This approach entails viewing security as an integral component of the development process, rather than an add-on feature introduced at a later stage.

For businesses across various sectors, integrating this approach into their cybersecurity strategies can be achieved through two pivotal methods:

  1. When purchasing hardware or software, ask about Secure by Design. Does the supplier use these practices? If not, you may want to consider a different vendor.
  2. Incorporate Secure by Design principles into your own business. Such as when planning an infrastructure upgrade or customer service enhancement. Put cybersecurity at the centre. Instead of adding it as an afterthought.

Key principles of Secure by Design include:

  1. Risk Assessment: Identifying potential security risks and vulnerabilities early in the design phase.
  2. Standard Framework: Maintain consistency when applying security standards by following a framework. Such as CIS Critical Security Controls, HIPAA, or GDPR.
  3. Least Privilege: Limiting access to resources to only those who need it for their roles.
  4. Defence in Depth: Implementing many layers of security to protect against various threats.
  5. Regular Updates: Ensuring that security measures are continuously updated to address new threats.
  6. User Education: Educating users about security best practices and potential risks.

Why Secure-by-Design Matters

Understanding and implementing Secure by Design practices is crucial for several reasons:

Proactive Security

Conventional cybersecurity methods frequently adopt a reactive stance, dealing with security issues post-occurrence. In contrast, Secure by Design incorporates security measures at the core of a system, mitigating vulnerabilities from the outset.

Cost Savings

Tackling security issues post-production or late in a project incurs significant costs. The same financial burden applies to addressing these issues near the project’s completion. Incorporating security measures from the outset helps circumvent these additional expenses.

Regulatory Compliance

Numerous sectors are bound by stringent regulatory mandates concerning data protection and cybersecurity. Employing Secure by Design practices enhances your ability to meet these compliance standards more efficiently, minimising the risk of unforeseen factors that could result in fines and penalties.

Reputation Management

A security breach has the potential to significantly harm your organisation’s reputation. By adopting Secure by Design practices, you showcase a dedication to safeguarding user data, fostering increased trust among both customers and stakeholders.


The landscape of cyber threats is in constant evolution. Leveraging Secure by Design practices becomes instrumental in maintaining the resilience of your systems and applications, particularly in the face of emerging threats.

Minimising Attack Surfaces

Secure by Design concentrates on minimising the attack surface of your systems, aiding in the identification and mitigation of potential vulnerabilities. This approach enables you to address threats proactively, preventing exploitation by hackers.

Need to Modernise Your Cybersecurity Strategy?

A cybersecurity strategy implemented five years ago may now be outdated. If you’re looking to modernise your company’s cybersecurity, feel free to contact us today to arrange a discussion.

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