Five Crucial Success Factors Adopted by Leading Security Practitioners
In today’s competitive business landscape, where differentiation is paramount, establishing and maintaining support for securing a product can elevate a company’s reputation as a top-tier leader in security and privacy.
To foster a positive product environment from conception to sales, here are five pivotal success factors that top security practitioners adopt for a triumphant strategy:
Craft a Value Proposition for Product Security. Collaborate with product management, sales, and security teams to articulate a clear vision of the significance of product security for the organisation. This vision should not only aim to mitigate risks but also to seize a competitive edge through product security. It’s essential to understand that inadequate product security can result in product recalls or regulatory non-compliance, leading to significant financial setbacks, customer attrition, and stifled innovation. Conversely, a robust product security programme, encompassing diverse departmental inputs, can offer a competitive advantage by highlighting security features that resonate with customers and addressing their queries and concerns during sales and post-sales interactions.
Outline, Develop, and Expand Product Security Proficiencies. Design a comprehensive model detailing the capabilities required to achieve the product security goals across product lines and demarcate budget allocations between enterprise and application security. This model should set security objectives for every phase of the product lifecycle, linking them to specific capabilities for implementation. The involvement of various departments in executing each capability should be distinctly outlined. The application of these capabilities should be prioritised based on risk assessments, customer expectations, and the products that would most benefit from specific security measures. Some organisations have established a “product security incident response team” or dedicated “security operations centres” for product security to ensure and bolster product capabilities.
Harmonise Operating Models with Product Teams. Product teams should be equipped with all essential security capabilities, tools, and processes. In contemporary organisations, autonomous product teams might operate in isolation, making it crucial to integrate security during product development. Given the scarcity of security resources and expertise, adopting a centre of excellence (COE) approach, customised to organisational needs, could be beneficial. In this framework, it’s advantageous to retain embedded product security experts within teams and fortify their reporting lines to the COE. When new certification mandates emerge, the security team must devise innovative solutions without impeding the product teams’ innovation and deployment pace.
Nurture Talent and Expertise. Organisations should adopt a dual approach of integrating security champions within product teams and enhancing their security skills. Security champions can exemplify security practices within the product team, ensuring adherence to security protocols and fostering a culture of security awareness and continuous learning. Tailored upskilling programmes can ensure that every member of the product security team is adequately informed. The current challenge for many organisations is filling product security roles, often leading to outsourcing and hindering the development of internal capabilities.
Implement Governance over Product Security. Product security standards can be categorised into three tiers: regulatory mandates (for product sales), organisational standards (mandatory security benchmarks set by the company), and best practices (voluntary security measures aligned with industry frontrunners). For each standard, define key performance indicators (KPIs) and key risk indicators (KRIs) across operational and managerial functions. These metrics can aid in creating a product security scorecard for transparency and tracking progress over time.
Product security isn’t merely about obtaining a security certification and launching the product. It’s far more encompassing. Much like manufacturing, the ethos should be “safety first.” Security shouldn’t be an afterthought; it must be integral from the product’s inception to its operational phase. Every member of the development team should prioritise ensuring the product’s security, ready to assist customers across sectors, be it banking, industrial manufacturing, or healthcare, in thwarting potential threats.