Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Security Management

5/2/2019
06:00 AM
Marzena Fuller
Marzena Fuller
Marzena Fuller
50%
50%

Bootstrapping Security Programs: How to Gradually Implement an Enterprise-Level Security Program at a Fast-Growing Startup

You can't expect to build an adequate security program without investment in both people and security tools.

Given my experience with building and managing security programs at fast-growing, successful startups, I am often asked how to "bootstrap" security programs.

Investing in people and tools
You can't expect to build an adequate security program without investment in both people and security tools. The level of investment will vary based on a company's risk tolerance, customer verticals served and data processed. Ideally, a company should hire a senior technical security leader as part of their core team. Designing a product with security in mind, incorporating product security features aligned with go-to market strategy, making security a key element of development and testing processes and implementing security best practices early is a non-negotiable element of a solid security program.

However, that scenario is far from ideal for most startups.

Building a security program from the ground up

  1. Create a core security team. As I stated above you can't build an effective program without a dedicated security team. For a startup that means a senior security leader, an infrastructure security engineer, an application security engineer and a compliance professional. Each of these roles should be filled with an experienced professional who can develop a security roadmap, prioritize initiatives based on risk and implement processes and practices that will scale with a company's growth and can hire and develop their respective team. At the same time, the founding members of a security team must be hands-on and be able to execute on the critical elements of the roadmap themselves.

 

  • Create a partnership with engineering. A strong partnership with engineering teams is critical to building a successful security program. Firstly, engineers who work on the product can point out known product design security gaps and opportunities for improvement. Secondly, engineering time and commitment are required to implement a secure software development lifecycle, address pen test findings and implement customer-facing security features. This not an easy task especially at a startup where engineering has to execute on the product roadmap quickly while under resource constraints. However, it can be done successfully by demonstrating that addressing security early in the deployment pipeline will ultimately save time. This is a great example of how security can accomplish its objectives via influence rather than control.

 

 

  • Leverage automation. Leveraging security automation from infrastructure security monitoring and auto-remediation through static and dynamic code analysis and vulnerability management is essential. Implementing automation where possible will make security an inherent part of each process and ultimately allow engineers to save time.

 

 

  • Open source investments There are a number of very good open source security tools; however, it is important to remember that while they do not require a license fee these tools require time to implement and configure, which is not free. With a small security team in place investing in tools that can be implemented and configured by the vendor is often a more effective approach.

 

Implementing a successful security program from the ground up takes time and requires prioritizing initiatives based on risk and a company's risk appetite. A security roadmap should always be aligned with a company's go-to market strategy and expected growth.

— Marzena Fuller is the chief security officer at SignalFx.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Attacker Dwell Time: Ransomware's Most Important Metric
Ricardo Villadiego, Founder and CEO of Lumu,  9/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20902
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-01
Upgrading Crowd via XML Data Transfer can reactivate a disabled user from OpenLDAP. The affected versions are from before version 3.4.6 and from 3.5.0 before 3.5.1.
CVE-2019-20903
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-01
The hyperlinks functionality in atlaskit/editor-core in before version 113.1.5 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTML or JavaScript via a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in link targets.
CVE-2020-25288
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.3. When editing an Issue in a Project where a Custom Field with a crafted Regular Expression property is used, improper escaping of the corresponding form input's pattern attribute allows HTML injection and, if CSP settings permit, execution of arbitra...
CVE-2020-25781
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in file_download.php in MantisBT before 2.24.3. Users without access to view private issue notes are able to download the (supposedly private) attachments linked to these notes by accessing the corresponding file download URL directly.
CVE-2020-25830
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.3. Improper escaping of a custom field's name allows an attacker to inject HTML and, if CSP settings permit, achieve execution of arbitrary JavaScript when attempting to update said custom field via bug_actiongroup_page.php.