Encryption: Key for Secure OEM and ISV Development

Understanding what secure development entails for OEMs and ISV requires examining the differences between them and how they play an important role in everyday security. While our initial thoughts about encryption and security may focus on the fundamentals like firewalls and passwords, a more in-depth exploration reveals that both the software and hardware we use everyday can also have a significant impact on our information security.

In this article, you’ll discover:

OEMs versus ISVs: What Are They and How Do They Differ?

According to Gartner, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is defined as “a technology provider that distributes output devices produced by another company under its own brand name.” This term typically refers to a company that manufactures a product that is then resold or rebranded by another company.

In the past, OEMs exclusively developed hardware components. But over time, the term has evolved and now can also refer to the firms that develop software components or other forms of intellectual property that are then used in other products. For example, OEMs can be software providers whose products are then repackaged and sold as components of your camera, tablet, or computer.

In contrast, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), also known as a Software Publisher, is a software producer typically independent of hardware manufacturers. Their primary function is to develop and distribute software. The software developed by ISVs remains the property of the software vendor throughout its lifecycle and is licensed for use by the end-user.

ISVs identify market opportunities and specialize in specific software niches. After locating an opportunity, the ISV designs and builds applications to solve particular problems. For example, an ISV may specialize in developing software applications for a particular business function, like accounting. This software is then developed for the end user, but sold as a retail product, prohibiting software code modifications or further distribution outside the ISV’s proscribed channel..

A key difference between OEMs and ISVs is that ISVs develop software applications for human use, while OEMs focus on building back-end, system-level applications. To summarize, ISVs generally create application-specific software that functions on a particular platform, with a strong emphasis on specialization. Meanwhile, OEMs develop components that are outsourced to business-to-business sales and value-added resellers (VAR), or could allow their product to be embedded in the software product of an ISV.

Given the differences between OEMs and ISVs, they also have something in common: the security and encryption needed to protect intellectual property, customer data, and other proprietary and private information. Whether you are involved in the development or usage of OEM or ISV solutions, security plays a critical role, impacting both the development and deployment processes.

OEM and ISV Security Considerations

When developing software and hardware products with security in mind, several important needs must be addressed by both OEMs and ISVs:

  • Threat Modeling: Threat modeling exercises that identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities in their products are essential for both OEMs and ISVs. This process includes evaluating potential attack vectors, determining the likelihood of an attack, and understanding the potential impact of a successful breach. Developing effective strategies becomes a critical defense mechanism against attacks.
  • Secure Coding Practices: OEMs and ISVs must implement secure coding practices such as input validation, output coding, and error handling to prevent common vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, injection attacks, and cross-site scripting (also known as XSS). By adopting these secure coding practices, products become not only robust but also secure.
  • Access Controls: Access controls include measures such as role-based access controls, two-factor authentication, and password policies. In essence, these controls are utilized to restrict access to sensitive data and prevent unauthorized users from compromising the system.
  • Encryption: Encryption is the fundamental security measure for OEMs and ISVs to protect data and ensure confidentiality and integrity of their products. Using strong encryption algorithms and key management practices ensures these needs are met. OEMs and ISVs can utilize encryption to secure both data-at-rest and data-in-transit depending on their application needs.
  • Secure Boot and Firmware Updates: Conforming to Secure Boot standards and keeping up with firmware updates helps prevent attackers from tampering with the system firmware or installing malicious software.These measures are critical components of maintaining not only the security, but also the integrity of software and hardware products developed by OEMs and ISVs.
  • Vulnerability Management: OEMs and ISVs should establish a robust process for regular security assessments, vulnerability scanning, and timely patching of known vulnerabilities. Effective vulnerability management ensures that OEM and ISV software products remain secure and protected.
  • Compliance: Ensuring that OEMs and ISVs products comply with relevant security and privacy regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA and CCPA, is essential for OEMs and ISVs. Compliance mitigates risks, adheres to industry standards, and fulfills legal obligations. Implementing data protection measurements, providing transparency around data collection/use, and even providing mechanisms for user consent and data deletion.

The Importance of Encryption for OEMs and ISVs

With the escalating number of data breaches, security and encryption have become top concerns for everyone.

Here are several key reasons why both OEMs and ISVs should prioritize incorporating security measures, particularly encryption:

  • Data Protection: Encryption provides a layer of protection to data-at-rest and data-in-transit. By rendering data unreadable and unusable in the event of a data breach of unauthorized access, encryption minimizes the impact of security incidents, and prevents unauthorized parties from extracting valuable information.
  • Protection of Intellectual Property: For OEMs and ISVs, intellectual property includes software code, methodologies, processes, and other proprietary information. Encrypting helps safeguard proprietary algorithms, trade secrets, and software functionality from unauthorized access or misuse. Encryption prevents reverse engineering, and protects products from piracy and theft.
  • Compliance: Regulations and requirements regarding privacy and security have become increasingly prevalent across industries. By implementing encryption solutions, OEMs and ISVs can demonstrate compliance with these standards and regulations. Compliance also allows OEMs and ISVs to avoid costly fines and legal consequences in the event of a data breach when private data is accessed.
  • Customer Trust: Encryption plays an intricate role in building trust between OEMs/ISVs and their customers. When users know that their data is protected with strong encryption, they are more likely to trust the devices and software solutions provided. Implementing encryption into their solutions, OEMs and ISVs enhance their reputation by demonstrating their commitment to protecting data security and user privacy.

Failure to encrypt sensitive data can have severe consequences for businesses of all sizes. Exposure of private data that is not encrypted can result in:

  • Tarnished reputation
  • Compliance regulation failures
  • Substantial litigation costs that can drain financial resources
  • Difficulty entering new markets due to reputational and financial damage.
  • Incorporating encryption measures into OEM and ISV products is a simple and effective way to mitigate these risks.

NetLib Security’s Encryptionizer was designed with developers, ISVs and OEMs in mind. Seamlessly integrate encryption into your existing applications without requiring any additional modifications or coding. With our encryption solution, OEMs and ISVs can embed Encryptionizer into their own product ensuring that their software and the sensitive stored data is encrypted, secure and protected against data breaches. We know that building software takes time, but protecting your product with encryption doesn’t have to.

About NetLib Security

NetLib Security has spent the past 20+ years developing a powerful, patented solution that starts by setting up a formidable offense for every environment where your data resides: physical, virtual and cloud. Our platform simplifies the process while ensuring high levels of security.

Simplify your data security needs. Encryptionizer is easy to deploy. It is a cost-effective way to proactively and transparently protect your sensitive data that allows you to quickly and confidently meet your security requirements. With budget considerations in mind, we have designed an affordable data security platform that protects, manages, and defends your data, while responding to the ever changing compliance requirements.

Data breaches are expensive. Security does not have to be.

NetLib Security works with government agencies, healthcare organizations, small to large enterprises, financial services, credit card processors, distributors, and resellers to provide a flexible data security solution that meets their evolving needs. To learn more or request a free evaluation visit us at www.netlibsecurity.com.