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Top 5 Myths about Off-the-shelf and Customized Software Security

Hero Imange

Review common myths about cybersecurity and discover if customized
software solutions are more secure than off-the-shelf products.
June 13, 2022


When choosing between off-the-shelf and customized software, you may have heard
some far-fetched notions about one being more secure than the other. Sadly, digital
security misinformation is everywhere. Believing in such fallacies could make your
business vulnerable to security breaches.

You need to be able to separate fact from fiction when it comes to cybersecurity, so let’s
examine the top five myths about software security:

1. Popular off-the-shelf software is more secure
2. Using obscure customized software will save me from hackers
3. Customized software development firms will manage my digital security needs
4. My biggest cybersecurity threat is from bots and hackers
5. Enterprise-level security practices can work for an SMB like me

Is Popular Off-The-Shelf Software More Secure?
Off-the-shelf software is not inherently secure. You should not assume that a commonly
used software solution is secure simply because it's popular. Defaulting to the belief that
popular equals secure will put your business at risk.

Additionally, if you depend on security measures built into off-the-shelf software, you may
be putting too much faith in an unknown system. Not only does that risk security on that
solution, but it could also cause more issues across your entire tech stack. After all, most
software solutions in businesses are interconnected, and if one has not been secured
correctly, then none of them are truly secure.

Will Using Obscure Customized Software Save Me from Hackers?
Most people assume that off-the-shelf software is safer and less vulnerable because of its
popularity. Nevertheless, commercial software is often targeted by hackers. From the
hacker’s perspective, there is much more to be gained from exploiting vulnerabilities in
commonly used software that can grant access to data from thousands of companies.

Therefore, you may wonder if choosing customized software solutions will provide you with
security through obscurity.

Software that has been uniquely created and structured for your business growth and
scaling development is less likely to be targeted by hackers. The payout for their efforts is
less, so it may not be worth their time.

That said, going customized does not mean you are 100% safe. You simply have a security
advantage with customized software that you would not have with mainstream off-the-
shelf software. (For additional guidance on choosing between commercial and
customized software, review this article).

Will Customized Software Development Firms Manage My Digital Security
Even though custom software solutions are less of a target, that doesn’t mean they are
un-hackable. Secure software development practices must be integrated throughout the
entire development lifecycle.

Managing security at the project level is not sufficient, either. Yes, you want each software
solution you implement to be secure on its own, but security measures, practices, and
processes vary based on the type of software and information that you are protecting.
Therefore, it is critical to prioritize security at the organization level with an end-to-end
framework in mind.

Such a framework must encompass but is not limited to the following:
 Ongoing security training
 Implementation of cybersecurity tools
 Risk and assessment threat tracking
 Risk modeling
 Continuous system testing
 System documentation
 Outside reviews and audits
 Response program logs
 Accountability chains
 Vulnerability and remediation policies

While some customized software development firms can work with you to organize and
manage your cybersecurity processes, this is not a specialty that all firms provide. If it is a
service you require, you will need to choose a suitable firm with this capability.

Although not all software development firms specialize in providing additional
cybersecurity services, firms that follow development best practices will create solutions
based on a system framework to ensure your entire organization (processes,
technologies, and people/teams) align to your company’s set of practices, requirements,
and policies around cybersecurity.

By using such a framework to develop customized solutions, firms can help their
customers assess risk well in advance of business-critical problems. Likewise, this
framework system better prepares companies to mitigate the potential impact of
exploited vulnerabilities and facilitate rapid responses to address and fix the root causes
of said issues.

Is My Biggest Cybersecurity Threat From Bots and Hackers?
IT security professionals point out that there are multiple layers of cybersecurity, including
protecting businesses from both active and passive cyber-attacks, creating a perimeter
wall of solution-based security, ensuring networks running systems remain locked down,
monitoring endpoint and data security, and finally training personnel to remain vigilant.

Most of the layers of cybersecurity protection can usually stop bots and malicious
hackers, but that only covers the basics. The biggest threat to your security is not
necessarily from forces outside your business, but from within your organization.

Employees who are not properly trained in cybersecurity may unknowingly open the door
to criminals.

Sophisticated hackers use methods to trick employees, often mimicking emails and
websites from legitimate-looking sources. Whether team members accidentally
download a virus or provide business-sensitive data during a phishing scam, it all ends
with your system being compromised.

If you want to achieve a higher level of security, you should put just as much focus if not
more on internal vulnerabilities as you do on external ones. Your company is only as
strong as the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain.

Can Enterprise-level Security Practices Work for an SMB Like Me?
While there are security best practices that every business should follow, the type of
security needed by a larger, enterprise-level organization will vary from that of a small or
medium-sized business. Yet many SMBs consider purchasing commercial software
designed with larger companies in mind, which can result in paying more money for
unneeded services.

Working with a custom software development firm that specializes in security can help
you determine solutions that are the right size for your business needs. Such solutions can
be customized to fit your budget, threat profile, internal and external user types, access
points, threat exposure levels, and vulnerabilities.

“Cybersecurity is not just a checklist. You can have the most
secure APIs and frameworks that will pass scans and
penetration tests, but that’s only one element of secure
development. Security starts with knowing who you are
protecting against and why. It’s critical to develop a deep
understanding of the client’s organization.”
– Tom Kobayashi, Head of Product and Engineering at

For SMBs who choose to work with a custom software development firm to build your
security system along with other software solutions, always make sure that the firm
designs a sound foundation that will scale with you as your business grows. The future of
your business should always be on the horizon, and you’ll need security that works with
your business every step of the way.

AltSource Offers Thought Leadership and Guidance on Cybersecurity
Our product owners hold decades of industry-specific experience not only in technology
solutions but also in business processes and risk analysis. Whether you’re in banking,
construction, retail, the digital economy, insurance, or manufacturing, our product owners
know the security obstacles you face and how to overcome them. We can assess the
cybersecurity needs of your business and make practical recommendations for
organization-level protection both from external hackers and internal vulnerabilities.

Let’s talk about your security concerns with your current software and upcoming software

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