Somewhere, way down at the bottom of the list of requirements, behind, fast, cheap, and flexible is “secure”. That is, until something goes wrong, until the system you build is compromised, then suddenly security is, and always was, the most important thing.

Security is a cross-functional concern a bit like Performance. And a bit unlike Performance. Like Performance, our business owners often know they need Security, but aren’t always sure how to quantify it. Unlike Performance, they often don’t know “secure enough” when they see it.

So how can a developer work in a world of vague security requirements and unknown threats? Advocating for defining those requirements and identifying those threats is a worthy exercise, but one that takes time and therefore money. Much of the time developers will operate in absence of specific security requirements and while their organization grapples with finding ways to introduce security concerns into the requirements intake processes, they will still build systems and write code.

» Cade Cairns and Daniel Somerfield |