Chapter 2. Embracing User Needs and Expectations

Security won’t work unless you are able to convince the user to embrace it. Any Draconian device developers contrive to enforce security without the user’s blessing will eventually fail because users are adept at finding ways around security. In situations where security truly is complete enough to thwart all but the hardiest user attempts, the user simply refuses to use the application. Long lists of failed applications attest to the fact that you can’t enforce security without some level of user assistance, so it’s best to ensure the user is on board with whatever decisions you make.

Users have two levels of requirements from an application, and security must address both of them. A user needs to have the freedom to perform work-required tasks. When an application fails to meet user needs, it simply fails as an application. User expectations are in addition to needs. Users expect that the application will work on their personal devices in addition to company-supplied devices. Depending on the application, ensuring the application and its security work on the broadest range of platforms creates goodwill, which makes it easier to sell security requirements to the user.

This chapter discusses both needs and expectations as they relate to security. For many developers, the goal of coding is to create an application that works well and meets all the requirements. However, the true goal of coding is to create an environment in which ...

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