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Software Safety vs Security | What’s the Difference?

Software Safety vs Security | What’s the Difference?

Software Safety vs Security: What’s the Difference?

Before we even try and extend our understanding to the realms of software safety and security, we must first try and understand what it means on a more literal level. The two terms separate themselves on one very basic parameter- intention. 

While safety is the act of trying to remain protected from threats irrespective of whether they’re deliberate or not, security refers to guarding oneself only from intentional acts of harm. At a more software level, when we are talking about safety and security we need to focus on the coding aspect of things.


Safety and Security with respect to Code

Speaking at the code level, we have a few things to address while covering safety and security.

Code Security: Any developer worth his salt well understands the importance of introducing code security in his software. On the shoulders of code security one is able to insure their software from unprecedented and illegal attacks that threaten to compromise its integrity. 

To bolster your security, there are various testing procedures that you can adopt to achieve the same. SAST (Static Application Security Testing), a popular testing technology, does this by scanning source code.

Code Safety: While one takes active steps under the aegis of code security to secure their software, code safety on the other hand makes a more general comment on the reliability of the software in question. It tells the user if the software they are about to use is sufficiently insured or not and in the process keeps them free from an unpleasant experience. 

Coding standards have been developed over time to facilitate code safety in the best manner possible. Most notable among these standards are the ones rolled out by the Motor Industry Security Reliability Association (MISRA).


Using Security to Attain Safety  

While Security and Safety are indeed two separate identities, one must not assume that they are mutually exclusive of one another as well. In a literal sense, and also at the software level, developers believe in devising security norms so that they can eventually accomplish safety. 

And this does not hold true just on paper, it finds its way well rooted in practical implementation as well. Security professionals who are thoroughly committed towards providing safe software to their users make use of the above tenet on a regular basis. Not only does this practice help them to preserve integrity of the software but also gives them the scope to enhance the availability of the software as well.


Software Safety as a Virtue of Coding Standards

It goes without saying that among all the coding standards that have been developed over time the ones that are most common in convention are those which were rolled out by MISRA. Formulated in 1998 with a vision to service the automobile industry, the MISRA set of coding standards have come a long way in establishing themselves as the current standard of software safety in industries of aerospace, railways, defense, healthcare, and the kind.  In the process these standards have defined themselves as the quintessential prerequisite towards ensuring a safe software environment.

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Implementing Software Security and Safety in Practice

There are a number of ways using which you can successfully administer both code security as well as code safety modules. One definite method of achieving this is by actively making use of tools that execute static code or static program analysis.

This is considered to be a highly reliable technique for what it does is pit the code against a collection of conventional coding rules and in the process exposes inherent shortcomings in the source code thus effectively identifying vulnerabilities in it.

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