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Chapter 14. Security > Thinking About Security

Thinking About Security

Most experienced practitioners find it appropriate to think of security as a problem of managing risk. This is true for three reasons. First, the security you need depends on what you are trying to protect. Banks use different security systems than retail stores, for example. Second, additional security almost always comes with additional cost, inconvenience, or delay. At some point, the costs of adding security outweigh the advantages. Third, there is no point in making the security of a system much stronger in one area than in another, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In reality, security is a property of the entire system. The security of a bank, for example, depends on its vault, guards, video cameras, motion sensors, the vigilance of employees, and the procedures for operating all of the equipment and handling problems. Similarly, the security of an Internet commerce system requires appropriate technology, a clear understanding of what is being protected, and careful operation and monitoring by the people running it.


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