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October 12th, 2020

Software Safety Vs Security: What’s the Difference?


The terms safety and security are convertible and often used interchangeably. Believe it or not, although they have a subtle difference, they are not interchangeable because of the difference in meaning. The primary difference between Software Safety Vs Security is their definition.

The term safety refers to the feeling of being saved or protected from the factors that cause harm. On the other hand, the term security suggests protecting individuals, organizations, or even properties against external criminal activities or threats that are likely to induce harm. The term focuses on the deliberate external factors that are intended to cause trouble.

While security is protection against intended threats or acts, safety is the condition of being secure against both intended and unintended threats.

Safety and security are two significant aspects of software and systems. Understanding the difference between safety and security is crucial for many domains. It includes software that starts from the code level.

This article will discuss the difference between safety and security when it comes to software and how to ensure the same.

Difference between Software Safety Vs Security

Now let’s see the differences between safety and security when it comes to software and code. Here are some of them:

Prevention of Attacks: Code Security

Code security means forbidding unwanted or any illegal or malicious activity in the software that we build up and use for our purposes. There are chances when someone intrudes into the software and causes a threat to it.

Code security makes sure that the software and the systems are secure by keeping all the unwanted trespassers out. To improve security, you can adopt SAST or Static Application Security Testing.

Ensuring Reliability: Code Safety

On the other hand, code safety is a term broader in scope. The time is used to imply whether the software is authentic and safe to use. This is where the importance of the MISRA coding standard comes.

MISRA was first developed to render safe experience for drivers. Currently, MISRA is one of the most established and popular coding standards. It has become a software standard for many industries, including defense, railway, healthcare, IoT, aerospace, etc.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Security Testing Is Important For Businesses

Why is the distinction so crucial for software?

Software fails to identify the sensitivity or secrecy of data that is processing or transmitting through it. This also suggests that the software does not recognize the intended or unintended threats coming to it, and this lack of awareness can affect the whole existence of the software. Hence, it is essential to design and develop software based on the sensitivity of the data it processes.

To protect the software’s security and the related sensitive data, effective measures should be taken at each stage of the Software Development Life Cycle. Both the pre and post-deployment phases of the development need to be addressed.

Software security activities at the pre-deployment phase are –

  • Software design security
  • Secure coding guidelines for developers to follow
  • Secure configuration procedures and standards
  • User authentication
  • User session management
  • Validating third-party components
  • Finding and correcting any flaws in the software design

It is when the security is guaranteed; one can say that the software is safe. That is, security is a root map to achieve safety. Any sort of damage or threat to the data’s protection implies that the software is not safe. That is why it is necessary to know the distinction between the safety and security of software.

Also Read: Security Of The Web Application Is A Major Hurdle To Overcome

How to Ensure Software Safety and Security?

The possible question in your mind would be how to ensure software safety and security. Well, we got you covered.

The best way to ensure your software’s safety and security are to use a static code analysis tool. In the process, static code analyzers are incorporated into the software development lifecycle. Most of the time, they are executed automatically.

Static code analysis, also known by the name white-box testing, is the electronic equivalent of manual code reviews. It is used to check and identify the source code for diverse issues. This includes programming errors, unsanitized input processing, vulnerable constructs, etc. At each development level, static testing tools let the developers integrate critical safety and security measures into their code in a confident manner.

MISRA advocates static code analysis tools to assure the highest degree of abidance with their standards. Abidance checking tools can look into everything right from critical security loopholes to small deviations resulting from best practices.

When you have one tool to check more than hundreds of activities, you will be aware of every tiny misstep happening with the software, thereby preventing malicious threats. When software can perform these critical checks and detections for your team, it eventually leads to a safe and secure software on which you can rely.

While manual checking takes a lot of energy and time, this will make the whole process easier and comfortable. Indeed, it is a safer way to secure your software.


Every organization or firm is concerned about providing security and safety to its software and applications. To enforce the highest level of Software Safety Vs Security to an organization, it is essential to protect the software and the infrastructure on which the software is running.

Since both safety and security are complementary, organizations need a holistic approach. If there is no security, safety cannot be guaranteed. Ensuring safety and security implies reduced risks and improved performance.


1. What distinguishes software safety from security?

Safety concerns mitigating risks for users, while security safeguards against external threats to data and functionality.

2. How do safety and security intersect in software development?

They work together: safety ensures user well-being, while security protects against potential harm or breaches.

3. Are safety and security equally important in software development?

Both are crucial; safety protects users, while security ensures data integrity and system protection.

4. Can software be secure but not safe, or vice versa?

Yes, a system might be secure from external threats but lack safety measures for user well-being, and vice versa.

5. How can developers balance safety and security in software design?

By implementing comprehensive risk assessments, combining safety features with robust security measures.

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