An innovative approach to engineering design  

June 28, 2024


engineering design

With the implementation of engineering design at a crossroads, Bruce Braes, Head of Security & Public Safety Consulting at Buro Happold hopes security leaders will recognise the company’s solutions.

In today’s fast-evolving landscape of technology and interconnected systems, security in engineering design should stand at the forefront of security risk management.

As decision makers grapple with complex challenges, understanding the critical role of secure design principles is paramount when considering the development of secure environments.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the UK market, where organisations across diverse sectors are beginning to embrace security as a foundational element in their greater risk management practices.  

A proactive solution 

In urban development, from inception safety measures and protocols should be woven into the fabric of design, fortifying the final output against a vast spectrum of threats including cyber-attacks, physical tampering, or operational failures.  

This proactive approach involves identifying vulnerabilities early on and implementing robust design strategies.

The ultimate objective? To forge systems that stand resilient, reliable and unwavering in the face of both anticipated and unforeseen challenges.  

The importance of Secure Engineering Design is at its paramount when tackling the protection of critical infrastructure, whether it be national or organisational.  

In the UK, critical infrastructure including transportation networks, power grids, trading platforms or communication systems are increasingly reliant on sophisticated engineering solutions.  

Ensuring the security of these systems is paramount to security and public safety.

In recent years, disruptive security incidents both physical and logical have occurred and had catastrophic or serious consequences, resulting in service disruptions, economic loss and threats to human life.  

Meeting regulations 

The UK has stringent regulatory frameworks that mandate the incorporation of security and safety measures into engineering projects, compliance with these regulations is often not only a legal requirement, but also a moral obligation for engineers.  

Adhering to these standards ensures that products and systems are safe for public use and meet the highest quality benchmarks.

Secure engineering designs also contribute to economic stability by preventing costly breaches and failures.

Companies that prioritise security in their designs can avoid expensive recalls, lawsuits and damage to their reputation.

This, in turn, enhances consumer trust and fosters a stable business environment.  

In the ever-evolving landscape of engineering, security is the sentinel at the gate, yet, despite its undeniable importance, several formidable challenges impede its seamless integration in the UK market.  

Complexity and cost are at the forefront, the intricate challenge of weaving security measures into engineering designs exacts both time commitments and financial price.

Smaller companies, in particular, grapple with the weight of this added burden and the demand for specialised expertise.   

In an ever more competitive market companies are constantly vying for the elusive skills required to fortify their systems and navigate the labyrinth of regulations, this is a Herculean effort especially for those operating across borders in our devolved nation.  

Compliance becomes a high-stakes game, demanding dedicated resources and unwavering expertise. Rapid technological changes and the relentless march of technology spawn’s new threats with each new day and engineers must be vigilant, constantly updating their knowledge and reshaping their designs to thwart these ever-shifting adversaries.  

The ever-increasing resource demand is exacerbated as the UK is facing a scarcity of skilled security engineers who are adept at implementing and maintaining robust security measures.   

What has been done to help?  

So where are the opportunities? The UK government has recognised the importance of secure engineering and has launched various initiatives to support innovation and development in this field.  

Funding opportunities, research grants and public-private partnerships can help companies invest in secure design practices.

There is growing awareness and demand, the word is spreading, consumers and businesses alike are becoming more security aware.  

This demand isn’t a mere murmur; it’s a chorus.

Companies are tuning in, investing in security like never before as the struggle to attract younger more demanding employees back to the office continues.   

In the heart of the UK’s innovation renaissance, engineers are engaged in a critical battle, designing secure environments and systems.

The stakes are high, public safety, environmental security and system reliability, along with challenges abound including cost and complexity that act as formidable dragons guarding the castle and skills shortages create moats that must be overcome.  

Overcoming the difficulties  

At Buro Happold, we recognise that each challenge is an opportunity.  

We’ve assembled the most diverse security consulting team in the UK to address our clients’ needs.

Diversity is the key to successful security because diverse people bring diverse thoughts and effective security interventions can only be achieved by thinking like an attacker.   

At Buro Happold, we’re committed to supporting our clients in an ever-changing world.

Security leaders play a pivotal role in security engineering procurement, their decisions shape the strategies, investments and implementation of secure systems and recognising their importance ensures effective collaboration and successful outcomes.  

We hope our sponsorship of SJUK Security Leaders Conference will allow us the opportunity to discuss our unique offerings with those leaders and that security leaders recognise our innovative approach and value our expertise.  

This article was originally published in the July Edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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