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Security Champions

The Power of 'Security Champions' in Application Security

The world of application security is vast and complex, but there's an emerging concept that's reshaping how organizations approach security: Security Champions.

What is a Security Champion?

A 'Security Champion' is not necessarily a dedicated security expert. Instead, they are members from various departments, often from engineering but also from realms like customer support. Their primary role? To advocate for and promote best security practices within their respective teams. This approach is especially beneficial in scenarios where the dedicated AppSec team is overburdened, leading to a decentralized responsibility for security.

In essence, Security Champions:

  • Promote a culture of security within their teams.
  • Undertake additional security-related responsibilities.
  • Receive special training.
  • Collaborate closely with the AppSec team to ensure security becomes a fundamental component of the development process.

The Case for Security Champions

Why should organizations embrace the idea of Security Champions? Here are some compelling reasons:

  1. Fostering a Proactive Security Culture: By having champions in place, various teams, be it developers, Q&A, or architects, transform from passive onlookers to proactive participants in security initiatives.

  2. Bridging the Gap: Communication between the AppSec team and the rest of the organization often lacks clarity. Security Champions serve as invaluable intermediaries, ensuring that security remains front-and-center throughout the development process.

Who Can Be a Champion?

There's a misconception that only the tech elite or senior team members can serve as champions. In reality, the primary prerequisite is a passion for learning and improving security. Of course, having experienced individuals as part of the initiative can lend credibility to the program.

Setting Up a Successful Program

Thinking of starting a Security Champion initiative? Here are some steps to consider:

  • Garner Support: Before diving in, ensure that management, the AppSec team, and the engineering department are all on board.
  • Training is Key: Equip your champions with the necessary resources. Some organizations are even gifting specialized subscriptions, like those from PentesterLab, to their champions.
  • Incentivize the Role: Motivation can wane if not nurtured. Offer your champions perks such as exclusive training sessions, invites to security conferences, exclusive merchandise, and perhaps even incorporate their champion role into their performance metrics.

In Conclusion

Incorporating Security Champions into your organizational strategy can usher in a transformative shift in how security is perceived and integrated. By fostering a proactive security culture and embedding security thinking right from the outset, you're paving the way for a more secure and resilient application environment.