Most organizations have an SDLC process in place that helps them streamline their development process. However, the rising complexity and number of business risks associated with insecure applications have made it necessary to integrate security into all the stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC), thus making it a secure SDLC.
Moreover, attackers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in the ways they exploit security vulnerabilities and attack businesses. Cyberattacks are now more difficult to trace, let alone address.
Companies are adopting a secure software development life cycle approach to detect and mitigate security threats. As such, it is not limited to only developers or the security team. Cross-functional teams can easily adopt a secure SDLC mechanism in order to facilitate better security across various stages of the SDLC.
Let’s take a look at what a secure software development life cycle (SDLC) really means and why you should consider adopting one.
What is a Secure Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
A secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC) is a framework that defines the entire development process to build a software product while integrating security at all stages - right from the planning, to the design, development, testing, and deployment stage.
Typically, secure software development lifecycle processes are divided into the following stages:
Phase 1: Requirement Collection and Analysis
Security requirements for the software application are established during this stage. Security experts analyze the key security risks within the application such as functionality, type of information application being used, etc. It also includes an internal security risk assessment and audit to avoid future conflict.
Phase 2: Design
During this stage, security is built into the design of the software application. We perform threat modeling where there are primarily four stages: decomposing the application, categorizing, prioritizing, and mitigating security risks. We also design the countermeasures to address security threats identified and address the security requirements.
Phase 3: Development
In the development phase, we ensure that code is developed securely using security controls identified during the design phase. Organizations also host training sessions for developers to understand the secure software development life cycle better and enable them to perform unit testing of security features of the application. Also, the code of the developers is reviewed to ensure their code does not introduce security vulnerabilities.
Phase 4: Testing
Once the application is in the testing phase, it is checked to ensure that it meets security standards and in-depth security testing is performed including penetration testing, integration testing, further static code analysis, dynamic analysis, etc.
Phase 5: Deployment & Maintenance
In the deployment phase, all security controls are checked once more, secure code review (static analysis), dynamic, configuration, container security, etc. and it is finally deployed. After that, continuous monitoring and mitigation programs are run to identify security vulnerabilities in running applications and address them in a timely manner.
Importance Of a Secure Software Development Life Cycle
As enterprises compete to stay ahead of their competition, they aim to deliver rapid software program releases to their customers with state-of-the-art features. Coming up with innovative solutions and developing them alone is a big challenge in itself, let alone making sure that the software is secure.
Instead of just performing security testing at the end, right when the pressure’s high and you’re closing in on your deadline, it’s much better and easier to embed security into all stages. Contrary to popular belief, which is that security holds back the development process, a secure SDLC is an efficient and effective way to bake security into different stages of the development process.
It brings together all the stakeholders involved in the project to ensure that the software application is secure.
Developers can begin by educating themselves with the best secure coding practices and frameworks available for better security. They should also consider using automated tools to quickly identify security risks in the code.
In addition to this, the management team can also leverage a secure SDLC to design a strategic approach for a more secure product. For instance, they can perform a gap analysis to understand what policies/activities currently exist in their organization and their effectiveness.
Setting up security policies that not only help you with high-level concerns like compliance but also allow you to embed it at the most basic level is necessary. If this sounds overwhelming, you can hire security experts who can assess your security needs and devise a roadmap that helps your organization enhance your security.
Top Advantages of a Secure Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
There are countless advantages of using a secure software development life cycle. Here are some of the top ones that you should know about.
Early identification of security vulnerabilities helps reduce costs to implement security controls and mitigation processes of vulnerabilities. The security vulnerabilities are fixed during the development process, instead of deploying patching software, which is much more costly when compared to addressing the problem in real-time during the SDLC.
Another advantage of secure SDLC is it helps build a culture of security that is more likely to catch issues not only in development but in other areas of an organization as well.
Since security is integrated right from the design stage in a secure SDLC, important security decisions are documented before development begins. Both the management and development team are aware of the security risks and concerns related to the project. This, in turn, helps fine-tune the development strategy to ensure secure code is built as the SDLC progresses.
One of the major advantages of a secure SDLC is that it helps in the overall reduction of intrinsic business risks for the organization. Whether it’s common security attacks like SQL or XML injections, or critical security issues like DoS (denial of service), companies that fall victim to cybersecurity attacks tend to lose a lot more than anticipated.
Data breaches can lead to damaged market reputation, stock value, weak customer relationships, reduced customer retention rates, and decreased sales. A secure SDLC helps prevent most security vulnerabilities in a timely manner, thereby protecting an organization from several cyberattacks.
Is a Secure Software Development Life Cycle Right for You?
Adopting a secure software development life cycle is the need of the hour. We understand that projects and applications have advanced and complex features, but security is no longer optional or even a bottleneck for your development process.
Our security teams identify where and how security vulnerabilities can impact your software and applications. While you focus on your operations and delivery, we take care of the “secure” part of your SDLC for your projects.
This post was originally published at CypressDataDefense.com.