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When designing security infrastructure, many users assume proprietary software to be inherently better and more reliable than their open-source counterparts. However, this is not necessarily true. As a matter of fact, using these solutions may also have significant advantages.
In this article, we will illustrate the concept of open platform security and how businesses and organizations can benefit from it.
What is open-source security?
Open source refers to software anybody can use, share and modify. Open source software has numerous applications in the fields of security, such as intrusion prevention, monitoring, threat intelligence, incident response, vulnerability assessment, firewall, anti-virus, and email security.
Interesting stats on open-source software usage
A study by Red Hat surveyed 1,296 IT leaders on open-source software. It found that they are increasingly choosing open-source software over closed-source solutions to build their infrastructure.
Currently, 82% of IT leaders are working with open-source software providers.
Among the main reasons for these choices, they named familiarity with open-source software, the ability to influence the development of the necessary features, and its higher effectiveness when facing technical issues.
The study also gives some interesting forecasts. While today 45% of surveyed leaders are using proprietary software, this figure will drop to 37% in two years. In contrast, the figures for enterprise open source and community open source will go from 29% and 21%, respectively, to 34% and 24%
Not only is open-source software here to stay, but it looks increasingly poised to shape the future.
The benefits of using open-source software for security
One reason why many consider open-source software more secure than its close-source counterparts is the fact that more programmers are inspecting the code, which allows them to spot any threats or vulnerabilities more quickly. This allows faster fixing. Updates also tend to be much more frequent.
According to the aforementioned study by Red Hat, 89% of IT leaders see enterprise open source as more secure than proprietary software. The reason given by respondents includes well-tested open-source code for in-house applications, well-documented security patches, quickly available vulnerability patches, and the fact that their teams can edit the code.
Another benefit of open-source software is its flexibility. As developers are allowed to see the code and make changes, meaning companies can easily adapt the software to their unique needs. This is often not the case with open-source software.
Open-source software is also free or at least very cheap. This will allow companies to save resources usually spent on licensing and maintenance fees. This is particularly important for smaller firms, for which the cost of closed-source security software may be prohibitive.
Finally, by using open-source software, businesses are not at risk of becoming locked in by the vendor’s price increases.
Closed-source software also uses open-source components
One thing that you should consider when doubting the security and effectiveness of open-source software compared to closed-source alternatives is that cloud-source software providers often incorporate open-source components in their design.
This is proof that private software providers have also recognized the benefits of open-source software.
Open-source applications for physical security
Moreover, security tech manufacturers are now designing their devices in a way that gives users the freedom to choose the open-source security software they want.
Before purchasing security solutions, whether it’s facial recognition access control technologies or an explosion proof camera system, businesses should ensure they are compatible with open-source security software.
One thing you should also look for when choosing the components of your physical security system is ONVIF compatibility.
Building security systems entails a delicate process of assembling a stable network of tools and elements. This requires the devices included, such as access control solutions, videos, and management systems, to synchronize seamlessly with one another and speak the same language. ONVIF, or Open Network Interface Forum, is an interface standard that fulfills this purpose.
Thanks to ONVIF, various IP-based safety products can be appropriately interfaced with each other regardless of their manufacturer. This makes sure that systems are properly integrated and compliant with specific requirements or compliances for security.
In the rapidly changing world of security products being fabricated by hundreds of different suppliers, having such a common standard allows them to concentrate more on innovating new technologies instead of focusing on software integration.
Open-source applications for cybersecurity
Open-source software has also found its way into cybersecurity operations. Some popular open-source cybersecurity tools include OpenSSL, Wireshark, and Yara.
A very useful reference is the Open Source Security Index. This free resource allows developers and businesses to identify the best open-source security technologies available at the moment and choose what is best suited for their goals. This index includes a lot of new and fast-growing solutions that are designed for modern infrastructure.
Some interesting considerations can be drawn by looking at the top positions. First, solutions that provide attack and testing tools are among the most popular. Second, projects that enable automation and “as-code” are now ranking in the top positions.