Secure to the Core


We live a deeply connected world, with information technology being embedded in a wide range of traditionally non-connected things and beings, including cars, street lights and even cows. However, many of these systems incorporate security as a last step.

“To help bake security into the very core,” the National Institute of Standards and Technology recently recommended ways to incorporate security design principles into connected systems “at every step, from concept to implementation.”

According to NIST, organizations often purchase products and add on security measures after the fact. These measures, however, aren’t sufficient to reduce security threats and develop sound security architectures, it said. 

“By incorporating security concepts into systems engineering—a discipline originally developed to protect physical infrastructure such as bridges—the researchers are providing considerations for building security from the ground up in modern versions of these complex systems and completely new ones,” according to NIST. The draft recommendations are intended for anyone who designs, develops, makes, implements or sustains a wide range of systems, from smartphones to industrial control systems.

This approach to technology design that embeds privacy-enhancing measures into technology at the point of design and production is known as “privacy by design.” The concept was created by Ann Cavoukian, former Ontario, Canada information and privacy commissioner, who recently launched an international council to advocate and set standards for privacy by design.

According to BakerHostetler partner Fernando Bohorquez, “in the long run it is better to instill a privacy by design approach sooner rather than later.”

“Privacy by design may at first sound like a bureaucratic fiat,” Bohorquez said, “but the concept is at its core a business value—treat your customer’s privacy and information with respect. I don’t know any company—startup or otherwise—that wouldn’t agree with that principle.” 

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