Penetration Test - Jan Kahmen - February 4, 2022

No Secure Application without a Security Concept

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Today, IT security is more important than ever. After all, data breakdowns, system failures and even hacker attacks put a strain on the IT infrastructure.

Table of contents

What is an IT Security Concept?

Basically, this type of concept is a key component of IT security management. With it, IT experts pursue the goal of identifying, assessing and minimizing risks. In addition, the security concept is the basis for all measures that define the handling of company and customer data. Other aspects that IT security concepts address are technologies for encryption. But also access control and the sensitization of employees around IT security. Today, a concept for IT security is more important than ever: because from data breakdowns to system failures to hacker attacks, many aspects challenge the IT infrastructure in the company every day. Those equipped with such a concept ensure systematic protection.

Why does my Company need a Security Concept?

IT security concept is an important way to protect the company from data loss, data misuse and data theft. A professional security concept software is the first step to identify, for example, a critical zero day vulnerability. Or to increase information security in general. In addition, such a concept helps to ensure the integrity, availability and confidentiality of data.

Goals of a Successful Security Concept

A successful security concept specifies, among other things, the guidelines for IT security in the company. To ensure comprehensive protection, such a concept includes various areas such as the data protection concept and a network security concept. The following objectives are particularly important:

  • Define areas of application for the information processes.
  • Recognize and identify dangers in the company.
  • Define the special protection needs of individual assets.
  • Determine the level of protection for sensitive data. How an IT Security Concept Works The basic IT security concept defines how personal data is to be collected, processed and used. In addition, it specifies which measures help to prevent the misuse of this information. By looking at these aspects in detail, companies can implement important policies in their operations.

How do you create a Security Concept? In order to create an effective security concept for the company, several steps are necessary:

  • First, the scope of the concept must be narrowed down. Ideally, different concepts are defined for different areas, which subsequently form a large whole.
  • A static code analysis and the structural analysis help to understand how technical systems, processes and information work together.
  • Followed by this, the protection requirements for the respective scope can be determined.
  • In the modeling phase, the results from step 3 are included. In this way, it is possible to extend the security measures to the existing interfaces as well.
  • A basic security check, for example using a cloud pentest, provides information about how good the existing security level is.
  • Through the pentests, the experts determine which risks are not yet fully covered.
  • Thanks to the results of the analyses, it is possible to minimize the potential danger and maintain the desired security.

Example: Creating secure Applications in Azure

A security concept is essential in the cloud application space, for example. Therefore, Azure offers developers as well as companies the possibility to create a sophisticated concept. For this purpose, different Azure services intertwine and combine the aspects of training, requirements analysis and design. While Azure offers numerous benefits for software developers, the system behind it is not to be neglected for companies either. Important: Microsoft repeatedly emphasizes how important it is, for example, to check the top ten OWASP. This contains detailed information on security vulnerabilities and best practices around the topic of IT security.

As IT security becomes increasingly important, there are now numerous legal requirements regarding the measures to be taken. The goal of these regulations, for example, is to detect a critical zero day vulnerability at an early stage. And thereby to protect sensitive data. For such a concept to meet these requirements, it must comply with the present norms and standards. Of course, while it additionally takes into account the individual circumstances. These include, among others, the international standard DIN ISO/IEC 27001, according to which anyone wishing to have their information protection documented can obtain certification. However, the legal requirements do not only deal with the security concept for software. They also address the network security concept and the data protection concept. For this reason, the current DSGVO also influences how the concept must be set up in order to protect personal data from attacks. It is true that cloud pentests or a targeted static code analysis are not prescribed by the legislator. But both are important steps on the way to more security. Companies are best supported in such strategies by professional red teaming. The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) provides general recommendations: In BSI Standard 200, it provides suggestions on how conceptual design can be successfully implemented. In addition, the BSI offers information on possible security methods and well thought-out risk management. Companies can use this practical basic framework to implement or stabilize their individual security concepts.

What is the IT Security Act?

The IT Security Act was passed in 2015 and aims to increase the security of IT systems. Therefore, it targets all companies that operate in critical infrastructure. This includes, for example, transportation and traffic, the energy sector, telecommunications, but also finance, money and insurance. All companies located in these sectors must ensure the necessary IT security according to the present law. Nevertheless, compliance with the basic standards is profitable not only for critical industries: Every company benefits from pentesting, red teaming, and regularly conducted security analysis.

Are there Industry-specific Aspects to Consider?

Of course, it is not possible to create a comprehensive concept for security that can be applied to all companies. Rather, it is important to take into account industry-specific features. A security concept in the healthcare sector, for example, must offer more far-reaching protection than an area that only processes personal data. While end-to-end encryption is always necessary in such industries, the skilled trades sector focuses on the exchange of sensitive customer data.

Who is Responsible?

Responsibility for IT security always rests with the company's management. Although management delegates creation, maintenance and control to other departments, the top level must endorse security policies. This responsibility also includes implementing the policies within the company. Last but not least, employees need to understand what is involved in IT security. Here it is helpful to work on a healthy error culture in the departments. Only then can they respond to these requirements in a targeted manner.

Who Develops and Supports the Concept?

If you want to develop a good concept for IT security in the company, you must first understand all the operations in the company. In addition, a broad expertise in IT is needed. For this reason, the task of creating the concept does not rest with a single person. It is a complex process fed by expertise from different areas of the company.

Is there External Support?

An alternative is to hire an IT specialist to create the IT security concept. Such experts are knowledgeable in the field of IT security and can implement the envisioned specifications in a targeted manner. One advantage of this cooperation is that the professionals act in an advisory capacity and continue to supervise the elaboration of the concept. This makes it possible to create a security concept that provides long-term security and is compliant.

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