Security by Design and security by default control

Imagine building something secure from the beginning, instead of patching holes later. That's Security-by-Design. It's more than just a method; it makes security a fundamental part of creating technology products. This idea fits well with DevOps, a modern development practice, by promoting a proactive approach to security.

It emphasizes including security at every stage of development. It's more than just a method; it makes security a fundamental part of creating technology products. This idea fits well with DevOps, a modern development practice, by promoting a proactive approach to security.

DevOps is an excellent framework for integrating security throughout the software development and deployment process. This way, security becomes a key element right from the start, not just something tacked on at the end. Similarly, platform engineering benefits from adopting a Security-by-Default approach, which builds security into systems from the beginning and helps to mitigate risks early.

There are challenges, of course. We need to change how we think, what we do, and the tools we use to make security a natural part of development. But if we do this right, security won't slow us down. It will actually make things better and faster.

The aim is to create an environment where security is not viewed as an obstacle but as a driver of innovation and efficiency in the development and deployment of digital solutions.

Two Schools of Thought: Security by Design and Security by Default Controls

There are two schools of thoughts for implementing security in technology and they focus on the same goal, however the approach is differentiated.

Security by Default: Security by Default Controls ensures software and systems start with the most secure settings. This makes it easier for users to stay secure, avoids mistakes in setup, and strengthens overall security. The trick is finding the right balance: strong security shouldn't make things too difficult or frustrating to use.

Security by Design: Security by Design weaves security throughout the entire software development process. This not only makes the software stronger, but also helps follow regulations and makes everyone think about security. However, it can require a change in how things are done and might take longer and cost more upfront.

Both strategies are important. Each approach plays a crucial role in building secure systems, focusing on proactive risk management and secure user experiences, respectively.

Here’s a more detailed comparison between the two:


Security by Design

Security by Default Controls


A proactive approach that integrates security considerations into every stage of the software development lifecycle.

A principle that ensures security settings are configured to the most secure defaults throughout the software or system.


Embedding security in the design, development, and deployment processes.

Ensuring that the default configurations are the most secure to prevent unauthorized access.


To anticipate and mitigate security risks early in the development process, making security an integral part of the solution.

To provide users with a system that is secure by default, requiring minimal security configurations by the end user.


Reduces potential vulnerabilities and security risks, facilitates regulatory compliance, and promotes a culture of security awareness.

Simplifies the process of maintaining security for users, reduces the risk of configuration errors, and enhances overall security posture.


Requires a shift in organizational mindset towards prioritizing security, may increase initial development time and cost.

Balancing security with usability, ensuring default settings do not restrict necessary functionality or user experience.

The right way? Both, by default and by design

Integrating Security by Design and Security by Default Controls into DevOps and platform engineering has become essential, not just optional. This approach embeds security deep within the development process, ensuring that it isn't just added as an afterthought but is a foundational component from the very beginning. By weaving security into every phase, from initial design through to deployment, these strategies ensure that security measures evolve as an integral part of the development lifecycle.

Both strategies come with toolkits. Security by Design stresses planning ahead for security risks, like having a fire extinguisher handy. Security by Default Controls focuses on the safest settings by default, so users don't need to tinker for protection.

By seamlessly integrating these approaches with DevOps and platform engineering, organizations gain a double win: stronger defenses and smoother operations. This security-first mindset is essential for building rock-solid digital solutions that can handle any threat out there.

Strategies for Embedding Security Principles into SDLC

  • Collaborative Culture: Building a security-aware culture is foundational. Regular security training for all team members not only raises awareness but also empowers each individual to take ownership of security within their roles.
  • Shift-Left Security: By integrating security early in the SDLC, teams can identify and mitigate vulnerabilities sooner. Implementing automated security scanning tools in the CI/CD pipeline ensures continuous security checks, making security a part of the daily workflow.
  • Automated Security Tools: Automation is key in keeping up with fast-paced development cycles. Continuous feedback on code quality and security risks, streamlining the remediation process is pivotal.

Cultural Shifts:

  • From Siloed to Integrated Teams: Breaking down the silos between development, operations, and security teams encourages a more holistic approach to security, where responsibilities are shared, and communication is open.
  • Continuous Learning and Improvement: Security is an ever-evolving field. Adopting a culture of continuous learning and regular retrospectives ensures that teams stay updated on the latest threats and best practices, adapting their strategies accordingly.

The Future is Secure: Building on Innovation, Not Vulnerability

The old way of building software – patching security holes after the fact – is a recipe for disaster. By embracing Security-by-Design and Security-by-Default Controls, we can build a future where security is a cornerstone, not an afterthought.

Imagine it: development that prioritizes security from the very beginning, leading to more robust and resilient digital solutions. Not only does it strengthen defenses, but it also streamlines operations. Let's build a future where innovation thrives on a foundation of security.