Security by Design: What is SbD and Why Do You Need It?

By  Maham Qasim

October 22, 2021 3:07 pm EST

In our daily lives, we often take security for granted. We are usually left alone as long as we don’t do anything illegal or make others feel unsafe.

Things are different, though, if you work in the IT business. As soon as you require your staff to use a computer for any length of time (weeks, months), people will start asking questions like: Are there security policies in place? (what are they?) Are employees required to encrypt their hard drives? (how is that enforced?) Is traveller encryption enabled? Etc.

These are often asked questions by folks who have no idea what they’re talking about. Still, the fact is that the modern business world requires an IT department to take security seriously and be as transparent in its dealings with employees as possible.

So what exactly is Security by Design? And how can it help you achieve these goals? Let’s find out!

What Is Security by Design?

Security By Design (SbD) is an approach for building security into every aspect of technology development. Rather than thinking of security as something bolted on at the end, SbD seeks to embed security assurances throughout design activities from inception to innovation.

When it comes to protecting your business’s data, you see you can’t afford to make assumptions. You need to assume that hackers are out there. The only way to keep them from getting their hands on valuable company information is by using the best available security technologies.

Security By Design is a methodology that helps organizations identify where they are most vulnerable before attacks occur to take proactive measures against technology-based threats. In this article, we will discuss three major steps of SbD: 

  1. Risk Assessment
  2. Threat Modeling
  3. Security Controls & Technology Selection

Risk Assessment

This first step of Security by Design is all about looking at the overall environment of your company. This includes analyzing one’s company processes, systems, and data to best identify security risks.

The goal is to create an adequate assessment of where you are vulnerable so that you can reduce or eliminate threats as much as possible before they occur.

What Is Threat Modelling?

Threat modelling is a technique used by Security Engineers and Architects during the design phase of certain systems, applications, programs, etc. In simple terms, threat modelling means creating a detailed description of how potential attackers could access the system in question. Moreover, what kind of damage could they inflict if they breach the defences around said system. 

Security Controls & Technology Selection

This is the third step, and it involves choosing the right technologies to safeguard your system. 

If unauthorized remote access is an issue, then perhaps implementing VPN services would be an idea.

Security Controls & Technology Selection is all about ensuring your most sensitive data stays safe from nosy employees or the prying eyes of hackers who might try to steal it by hacking into seemingly unprotected servers. 

The final step of SbD involves:

  • Looking at the information gathered during steps one and two.
  • Coming up with solutions for issues discovered therein.
  • Selecting appropriate technologies to solve the problem(s) identified during risk assessment and threat modelling.

Why Do You Need SbD?

The SbD model is great for any organization, not just big corporations — even small businesses should pay close attention to the steps of this methodology. Why? Because no matter how secure your Server database environment is, maybe, if you don’t put security first, you expose yourself to unnecessary risks.

Many people think only about traditional external threats when speaking about cybersecurity. Security by Design recognizes that it doesn’t matter how strong a company’s perimeter defences are; if hackers can get inside those walls and gain access to company data, then they will. But as we said earlier, don’t assume that the bad guys have an axe or a gun — you could discover during risk assessment and threat modelling stages that your biggest threat is actually inside your network.

These threats can be harder to identify than external ones; after all, internal employees are generally well-paid and trusted by the organization. Yes, they could become corrupt or malicious, but rogue contractors are more common than full-time employees. The point is that you have to protect yourself from all types of attacks: those initiated from outside of your network and those of someone inside your organization.


Maham Qasim

Maham is a copywriter and content creator who's always been drawn to the idea that there's more than one way of getting things done. Her writing career can be thought of as just another side hustle for her; when she isn't crafting content or reading Oscar Wilde, Maham often strategizes about how best to reach out with an engaging voice in this ever changing marketplace!

More like this