Application Security
2/6/2014
12:45 PM
Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams
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The 7 Deadly Sins of Application Security

How can two organizations with the exact same app security program have such wildly different outcomes over time? The reason is corporate culture.

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planetlevel
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planetlevel,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2014 | 10:13:44 AM
Re: Culture is #1 -- True, but what's the deadliest sin?
Some security professionals have commented to me that the best way to boostrap a security culture is to get hacked.  And I have seen companies pour effort into application security after a hack.  But I'm not convinced. I've worked with a number of clients that have managed to create a very strong security culture without a devastating hack.  And I've also seen those post-hack efforts fade over time -- meaning they didn't really change the culture.

To me the best signal of a great security culture is that security has been made "visible" -- there are artifacts available and people encourage informed and rational discussion of security issues.  Beware that "black-and-white" thinking! What other signals do you see of either great or terrible security culture?
J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2014 | 5:39:36 PM
Re: Culture is #1 -- True, but what's the deadliest sin?
Definitely Sin 1: Apathy.  With no incentive at the highest levels, nothing can be done.  No education, no awareness, no tools, no procedures, no nothing can happen.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
2/11/2014 | 1:33:19 PM
Re: Culture is #1 -- True, but what's the deadliest sin?
Glad you liked the column, J_Brandt. Curious to know which of the 7 deadly sins stands are the most deadly in your experience.
J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2014 | 1:14:43 PM
Culture is #1
Excellent piece.  It seems like almost weekly I am making the point to my clients that culture can override and make invalid any security hardware, software or procedure.  I'll be referencing your 7 deadly sins to help "tackle the culture killers!"
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
2/10/2014 | 8:59:38 AM
Importance of culture
Jeff, I couldn't agree more with your point about the importance of culture in setting the tone for attitudes about security. This is true on all levels -- from  software app development to enterprise-wide security architectures to end user awareness. And the message cleary has to come from the top. 
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