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Network Security Engineers and Application Developers: Better Together

How can network security engineers and application developers work towards best practices?

As two crucial roles in any organization, network security and application development teams must rely on each other to ensure the safe and efficient operation of a company’s technology infrastructure. Achieving this technical entente cordiale is, however, not as easy as it may sound. These two groups often have different priorities and ways of working, which may lead to communication breakdowns and possibly even conflicts in the fast-paced race to ship new code while keeping applications secure.

Protecting the organization’s assets, together

First, it is essential for both groups to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.

Application developers are responsible for creating and maintaining the software applications that drive a company’s business operations. They focus on functionality, usability, and performance. On the other hand, network security engineers are responsible for protecting the organization’s assets, including its networks, systems, and data, from external and internal threats. They focus on security, compliance, and resilience.

To work effectively together, both groups must have a basic understanding of the other’s perspective and priorities. Application developers must acknowledge the importance of security and the potential risks of not properly securing their applications. Network security engineers need to understand the importance of functionality, performance, the development process, the need for speed in the push to deployment, and the impact that security measures can have on these factors.

Both groups need to establish clear lines of communication and foster an organization-wide culture of collaboration. This can be achieved through regular cross-departmental meetings, such as a weekly or bi-weekly security review, where both groups can discuss current projects, share information, and address any concerns or issues. It is also important to assign a dedicated point of contact from both groups to better facilitate communication and coordination.

Designed to be foundationally secure

Both groups need to adopt a security-by-design approach. This means that security should be considered and integrated into the development process from the beginning rather than as an afterthought.

This can be achieved through the use of security tools, such as static analysis and dynamic testing, which can help identify and fix security vulnerabilities early in the development process. Adopting Zero Trust methodology within the application environment, using microsegmentation to be sure no unknown external calls are made without the knowledge of the security and development teams, can offer a trusted baseline of expected activity and prevent alert fatigue by offering real-time insight and clear and actionable warnings for the security team – without the constant need to address security concerns in production.

Staying in the loop

Both groups must stay updated with the latest security threats and trends. This includes regularly reviewing security reports and advisories and attending relevant training and conferences. By staying informed about the latest threats and trends, both groups can better protect the organization’s assets and respond quickly to security incidents.

So go on, buy a developer a coffee, and let’s talk. Treat the security folks to a box of Danish pastries, and let’s find a middle ground that will benefit everyone.

Application developers and network security engineers are vital in any organization and rely on each other to ensure the safe and efficient operation of a company’s technology infrastructure. By understanding each other’s headaches, priorities, and responsibilities, establishing clear lines of communication, adopting a security-by-design approach, and staying up-to-date with the latest security threats and trends, both groups can find a painless path to protecting an organization’s assets

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