Barr Group’s Embedded Systems Design Survey Reveals Troubling Safety and Security Trends



Barr Group today announced key findings of its 2016 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey, raising alarm that the industry is not taking safety and security seriously enough. The survey incorporates complete responses from more than 2,400 qualified engineers, 46 percent from North America, 33 percent from Europe, and 11 percent from Asia. Such a large, worldwide response makes this independent survey the first truly comprehensive look at the state of safety-critical and security-aware engineering design practices for the devices that drive business and industry worldwide.

Barr Group, a provider of vendor-neutral training and objective consulting services that assist engineers and software development teams in building safe, reliable, and secure embedded products, conducted this survey to better understand the state of safety- and security-aware embedded systems design around the world.

The data that emerge from this survey indicate reasons for the engineering community to be concerned and for design practices to be improved. Findings include:

- Poorly designed embedded devices can kill. In the case of product malfunction, 29 percent of respondents’ current design projects could result in injury or death.

- Security is not taken seriously enough. Only 31 percent of respondents who report that security is a design requirement consider that requirement more important than meeting the project’s delivery schedule.

- Proactive techniques for increasing safety and security are used less often than they should be. Only 38 percent of respondents currently subject all their software source code to peer review, and respondents use static analysis tools in less than half of current projects.

Despite highlighting these disturbing trends and others, the survey does reveal that reliability—crucial to both safety and security—is highly valued by embedded systems designers. Over 90 percent of respondents say that reliability is at least as important as meeting the project schedule, and 38 percent of respondents report that the reliability requirements of their current project are higher than those of previous projects.

“At Barr Group, our ultimate concern is the state of safety-critical and security-aware embedded device design,” said Andrew Girson, Barr Group’s CEO. “The results of this survey indicate that the attention paid to safety and security issues in the design of embedded devices, particularly those that connect to the Internet, is not what it should be.”

March 8 Webinar to Provide Detailed Analysis of Survey Results

To provide an in-depth analysis of the full survey results, Barr Group will host a free webinar on March 8, 2016, at 1PM EST. Barr Group representatives will explore topics such as the correlation between devices that can kill or injure and design teams’ engineering practices, and look at how design teams differ across the world in their respective approaches to safety and security. Interested engineers and managers can register for the webinar at: http://www.barrgroup.com/Embedded-Systems/Webinars/Survey-Results-2016

About Barr Group

Barr Group helps companies improve the reliability and security of the electronics and software embedded in their products. The company’s engineers include internationally known experts in the design of safe and secure computers who provide independent training, consulting, and product design services to companies in many industries including automotive, medical, defense, industrial, consumer, and Internet of Things.

Barr Group, The Embedded Systems Experts, Embedded Software Boot Camp, Embedded Android Boot Camp, and Embedded Security Boot Camp are trademarks or service marks of Integrated Embedded, LLC d/b/a Barr Group.

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