If there’s one thing that we’ve noticed during SafeStack’s adventures in secure development, it’s that we often spend a lot of time focusing on the roles that write the code. That’s great and super important – you don’t get any software without a developer – but it’s certainly not the whole picture.
In this post, we’re going to expand that focus and introduce you to a secret weapon in your software organization’s fight against cyber security vulnerability – your product manager.
So whether you’re a product manager or you have one in your world, this post is for you.
You are a cyber security secret weapon
As a software product manager, you’re a superpower in your organization. You have the skills and expertise to identify customer needs, drive innovation, and shape the direction of your products. Behind almost all amazing software is a skilled product person.
But did you know that you also play a crucial role in ensuring the cyber security of your software products? In fact, your approach and skills can help improve the security of your products in significant ways.
Cyber security is part of quality
At the core of great software products is a commitment to quality. Quality means a lot of things but at SafeStack, we believe that cyber security is a core part of it.
Quality doesn’t happen by chance, it takes focused effort and intention. As a product manager, you have the power to lead this charge by embedding cyber security into every stage of your product development lifecycle.
Getting started with cyber security as a product manager
Here are some ways you can leverage your skills and approaches to improve the security of your software products:
Define and communicate cyber security requirements
One of the most important things you can do as a product manager is to define cyber security requirements for your products. Work closely with your development team and stakeholders to identify the potential risks associated with your software. Then design features and capabilities that address these risks. Make sure these requirements are documented and communicated clearly to everyone involved in the development process.
Figuring out what these requirements are doesn’t have to be boring or painful – using skills and approaches like threat assessment can help you understand the scenarios in which bad things can happen. From there, highlight how your software will need to defend against them.
Balance cyber security with usability
While cyber security is important, it’s not the only consideration when it comes to building software products. As a product manager, you have the challenge of balancing cyber security with other critical factors like usability, functionality, and cost. Use your skills in prioritization and decision-making to strike the right balance between security and other requirements. Be a voice and a champion for security – your team needs it.
Collaborate across teams
Improving the cyber security of your software products requires collaboration across teams. Work closely with your development, testing, and operations teams to ensure that security is built into every aspect of your software development lifecycle. Encourage communication and knowledge sharing among team members, so everyone’s aware of potential cyber security risks and how to address them. Normalizing talking about and collaborating on cyber security is incredibly powerful for making security a real team sport.
Stay up-to-date on cyber security trends
As a product manager, you have a unique perspective on your organization’s products and customers. You know what’s important to them, what they are thinking about, and what support they need. By following cyber security or technology needs, you can combine this perspective with the latest security trends and threats. This knowledge can help you identify potential risks and ensure that your cyber security requirements are aligned with the latest best practices, while pre-empting any risks your customers may need to be aware of.
Ready to get started?
Cyber security doesn’t have to be daunting – it needs more than just software developers to succeed. Engaging everyone in your software development team to think about cyber security at every stage in your development lifecycle increases quality and creates better products overall.
As a product manager, you have a critical role to play in ensuring that cyber security is built into your products from the ground up. By defining security requirements, balancing security with usability, collaborating across teams, and staying up-to-date on security trends, you can help improve the security of your software products and protect your customers’ data and privacy.