The evolving nature of cyber attacks has necessitated an overhauled defense deterrence for cybersecurity. Choosing the right cybersecurity tech stack helps administer security from external threats while ensuring you only adopt the tools and platforms that are relevant to your application and related workflows. As with any other form of technology, cybersecurity requires a combination of security practices (the approach) and software tools (the tech stack).
While a Security Practice is the strategic plan to identify, mitigate and counter security threats, a Tech Stack essentially involves various tools and platforms, ranging from simple Antiviruses and Firewalls to sophisticated tools like DNS Filters. The cybersecurity tech stack acts as an enabler to your security practices by providing an architecture framework of various tools to detect and mitigate vulnerabilities.
Why Adopt a Dedicated Cybersecurity Tech Stack?
Adopting a cybersecurity tech stack additionally includes components that protect your network, core services, operating system, databases, web servers, and custom web apps from cyber attacks. To run your applications and websites effectively, these components should be properly coordinated to ensure optimal workflow delivery, while leaving zero gaps in the cybersecurity tech stack.
The right cybersecurity tech stack is based on your organization’s risk profile and is customized to handle threats and attacks preemptively. By addressing security across the entire threat landscape, your security stack helps you create a robust defense program efficiently. Additionally, an organization also realizes cost reduction of data backup and disaster recovery by dedicating resources to identifying and handling potential attacks.
Essential Things to Consider When Choosing Your Cybersecurity Tech Stack
Type of Applications You Run
Securing applications differ with use-cases, depending on the runtime environment and backend code. Let us take the reference of the two most common runtime environments - PHP and Node.js.
For a PHP-based application, while you can leverage out-of-the-box and best practices for security, those are often not enough; whereby it is recommended that you adopt a holistic approach of hardened testing and specialized tools that are focused on working with a PHP centric application tier.
On a similar note for a Node.js application, it is essential to note that securing such an application often starts with securing the JS Engine apart from removing vulnerabilities across all layers (application, platform, server) of the application.
Moreover, PHP and Node.js differ in generating output and exposing its functionality to the web. While PHP has a Session Management module, Node.js comes with a HTTP web server module - as a result the right security approach would factor in vulnerabilities within the respective modules and their mechanism to generate output.
A Security Tech Stack should always be factored in considering the application framework.
Cost of Development
Every tool on your tech stack adds up to the total cost of developing and maintaining your apps. Large application developments are often supported by a huge budget. While this budget supports the most sophisticated security tech stacks, you should also consider the costs of running your security solutions in the long run.
A security stack with an array of different technologies also necessitates the recruitment of specialized personnel. It is essential to keep your security stack minimal and straightforward to reduce your application’s overhead of administering security. Additionally, discussing security needs and budget allocations with your developers during the planning phase is a must to determine the most appropriate cybersecurity tech stack for your application.
With the growth of your application’s number of users, data, and functionality, your security stack should scale and evolve to match your application’s changing needs. With the advent of remote and distributed computing, data protection should now also include components used for remote work and mobility. As a result, you should review your firm’s long-term architectural strategy as you select your security tools to ensure the stack covers all future expansion plans and end-point devices without disruptions.
Time to Market
Time to market (TTM) is extremely crucial in an Agile and DevOps model on which a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is conceptualised. Your choice of a cybersecurity tech stack significantly affects development time since most of these tools are designed to provide periodic failsafe checks. More so, the perfect security layer should not slow down your applications during runtime. Even if you are not delivering an MVP, an overly complicated security stack may dull the user experience by making the application heavier. As a best practice, it is always recommended to keep your security stack as minimal and relevant as possible to maintain the optimum application performance.
Staff Technical Skills and Abilities
It is always a wise decision to adopt technologies that your staff is already experienced and skilled-in. With a range of solutions created for different frameworks and runtime environments, different security tools require different skill sets to operate. An assessment of your security staff’s knowledge, competencies, and accomplishments can give you a clear picture of your team’s skill sets. It is also essential to develop their knowledge through regular training and certification programs, so they are aware of recent technological advancements and threat scenarios. However, exhaustive training to keep the staff updated from a Security perspective can often get overwhelming and result in budget overruns. In such scenarios, an organization can benefit from security solutions like Crashtest Security, which offers vulnerability scanning software, accessible by developers and security staff for all levels.
Third-Party Technological Dependencies
Every application in a modern business relies on the functionality of third-party packages, components, and libraries. Embracing such a model is crucial to Agile development since developers focus on creating core application functionalities while leveraging standard building blocks from trusted third-party libraries. However, this model brings complications to the security landscape as it increases the attack surface while introducing vulnerabilities susceptible to attack vectors. Therefore, as a best practice, it is advised to map out all dependencies of an application and architect the right stack to handle any threats that may arise from third-party vendor libraries.
The right combination of tools with security practices removes vulnerabilities across all layers of the application. Even with a diverse technological landscape, you will need to limit the number of tools in your stack for faster workflows, and as a result, keep a potential attack surface to the minimum.