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Date
28 August 2019

Fasten Your Seatbelts: A Guide to Secure Digital Innovation

Innovation needs speed

Companies often run into issues when it comes to security for new innovations. Following all regulations and needed security measures for a product that is possibly never reaching the complete market is time consuming. It can easily become a roadblock for speedy development that is sought after when it comes to digital innovations. And is it needed at all stages in the process? We’ll take a deeper look into what “minimal” in MVP should mean when it comes to security.

MVP and security

The technique to develop Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) has many advantages. It makes you able to go to market quicker, develop what your actual customer needs and it allows for continuous improvement. It requires minimal upfront investments and reduces financial risks. But one thing is often overlooked by many companies delivering this way: security.

Application security is often only an afterthought when you look into many IT projects that made it to the market. Focusing on short term problem fixes can lack consideration of new problems introduced by the solutions.
 

Time consuming security measures

Relying only on large fences around your data centers is a thing of the past and taking time to catch up on applications security before going to production does not fit with hyperfast development.

With applications in the cloud making speedy releases even easier, security should be taken into consideration from the start of development and throughout the process.

Keep in mind that the cost of security grows exponentially when you address it later in the process.

It only takes one weakness to defeat security

Security is not a fair game. You need to get everything exactly right, while an attacker only needs a tiny weak point to exploit. It is important to be aware of the value of your different assets, motivation of possible attackers and the amount of work that is needed to set up proper security measures.
 

Fast production needs smarter security

Potential increased risks can be quantified and businesses need to understand them to make informed decisions on how to move forward. Knowledge and structure are important assets while going fast is key. 

With an MVP way of working you continuously adapt and improve, meaning that feedback is collected quickly, but also your security requirements may change. You have to continuously analyze risks and strengthen security controls where needed.

Some tips to optimize your security investments include:
 
  • Standardize your engineering practices and cloud source security components
  • Keep it simple, don’t add bells and whistles you don’t need, they all must be secured
  • Don’t underestimate the impact of going to production, if you can’t get it right for a hundred users you will never get it right for a million

Security as a team effort

There are never enough application security experts to give personal attention to every single development feature. This means you need everyone to be aware of risks and implications to make sure they assess this every step of the way. Accumulated knowledge then leads to standardization and best practises, fewer mistakes and increased efficiency. Give tailored guidance so your team becomes more self supporting, in order for your experts to be used where they are most needed.

Conclusion: to cloud or not to cloud?

Apply security measures to all stages of product development. You can never defend yourself for all possible attacks, but you can quantify potential increased risks. Get advice to make proper business decisions around security. Make sure you understand implications and use this knowledge to determine the most secure structure. Integrate security info refinement, prioritization and delivery. And make it an entire team effort. 

Join the discussion

October 3, 2019 Mobiquity hosts mClass on the subject of digital innovation in The Netherlands, sharing knowledge on security within scrum and more. Get unique insights into how other companies handle secure development within their organization, and more during mClass - Digital Innovation in The Netherlands.

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