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Fundamental Security Principles for Application Security

by : OpSourced Support Team
January 17, 2023

An application can never be completely secure. If you patch an issue today, there could be a new vulnerability tomorrow. However, there are steps that you can take to make your applications more secure overall. OpSourced’s DevOps engineers can help manage your infrastructure to keep your Applications and their essential services secure and with maximum availability.

We’ve put together a list of what we think are the most important security principles you should consider for your application’s security. We created this list from our knowledge and experience and the OWASP security principles.

With our DevOps Consulting Services package, we can work with you to create a customized consulting plan to meet your needs. Contact us today to find out how OpSourced can help you.

What Is Security by Design?

Security by design is software and infrastructure designed to make a system free from vulnerabilities and safe from malicious attacks. Because vulnerabilities can appear and develop, maintaining a secure system requires continuous testing and implementation of new safeguards and staying up-to-date on emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Keeping your data secure is understandably very important. There are a few secure design principles that are essential when designing for maximum security. Following these core security principles can help ensure that your application and infrastructure stay on the cutting edge of security and availability.

Security By Design Principles

These are the main security principles that are important to be aware of when it comes to application security.

Principle of Least Privilege
The principle of least privilege focuses on security by limiting access to only the minimum necessary at each level and for each purpose inside the application and between its essential services. This principle states that people, infrastructure, applications, and automation should only have as little access as possible to do their job. This follows that someone who writes articles for your site doesn’t need to and shouldn’t be able to access all aspects of your site. The same applies to how much access an application needs to operate at each level versus granting a staging or dev application carte blanche into your production infrastructure.

Principle of Separation of Privilege
This principle is interrelated with the principle of least privilege. It states that no one role should have too much authority because the more authority one person or application has, the more likely they are to make a mistake.

OpSourced builds infrastructures to involve as many secure levels as necessary to reduce authority to make changes to only those people and processes that require it. We create easy access to logs and provide clear visibility into the infrastructure without the need to give all members of your team unfettered and untracked access to all levels of the infrastructure. This way, many vulnerabilities, attack surfaces, and accidental outages can be prevented without hindering the fast-paced work your devs are doing day-to-day.

Principle of Open Design
The principle of open design is sometimes referred to as ‘avoiding security by obscurity,’ stating that your security shouldn’t be totally reliant on secrecy or complicated architecture alone. Modern cloud implementations are both a blessing and a curse in this regard and require careful planning and meticulous maintenance over time to ensure secure and steady operation, along with adherence to best practices and standards, without getting in the way of forward progress.

Principle of Fail-Safe Defaults
Your system should be designed to fail safely when it comes to data and information. When a failure occurs, your system should be designed to lock down or fail safely in a manner that keeps your customers and your business secure and notifies the proper teams to take immediate action to remedy the situation and maintain maximum availability.

OpSourced can help to engineer your infrastructure, automation, and critical business practices to fail as safely and securely as possible. Whether a malicious user, infrastructure failures, or accidental engineer error, planning ahead to fail and eliminate as many of the options and surprises as possible is a wise investment for the future of your business.

Principle of Defense in Depth
The principle of defense in depth is all about levels of security. Your system should use multiple security controls and layers of validation with systems in place that will alert you if your security fails.

We build layers of security and fail-safes into all infrastructures we work on so that you can always maintain secure access to your system.

Principle of Psychological Accountability
This principle focuses on ease of user access and how security measures shouldn’t make resources more difficult to access. While security may create a few additional steps to access information, the burden should be reasonable.

Adjusting to a new workflow can sometimes take time and effort. We’ve found that the easiest way for most teams to learn a new system is for us to fix the entire system so that it’s secure and then teach the new workflow once everything is in place.

Principle of Complete Mediation
The principle of complete mediation states that access to all objects or resources should also be checked to make sure that they’re allowed. This means that your system shouldn’t allow access to something just because it was previously allowed. All requirements that have to be met for access to that resource should be rechecked to ensure that it’s still allowed.

Contact an Application Security Expert Today

These security principles are vital to your infrastructure and application security but can often be challenging to apply. Employee turnover and changing ideas or priorities can also impede security. We frequently see tech sprawl being ignored as companies focus on maintaining forward momentum. But not keeping your security up-to-date can cause issues down the road if your business is faced with an outage or a breach.

In addition to having these security principles in place, it’s just as important to maintain and test them to ensure they remain operational.

Our DevOps Engineers can work side-by-side with your team to create a personalized infrastructure that fits your business. Even after your system is up and running, you can utilize our support and services to ensure the application’s security.

We offer personalized consulting to fit the needs and size of any business. Contact us today to find out how our services can help you.

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