Modern software development is faster, and products are sometimes released in weeks rather than months. Unfortunately, threat actors take advantage of this rapid application development to find vulnerabilities in code. Secure software development is a methodology that incorporates security at all stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Secure software development, which is often associated with DevSecOps, incorporates security into the code from the start before the first line of code is written.
The Advantages of a Secure Software Development Lifecycle
Many organizations have shifted their focus to secure SDLC due to the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks. Here are some of the advantages of a secure software development lifecycle:
- Decreased costs and risks.
During the software deployment phase, organizations that do not use secure SDLC will face numerous security issues. As a result, they may feel pressure to meet product release deadlines. Furthermore, the cost of correcting errors at an early stage of development is low in comparison to later stages. Prioritizing security during software development ensures that the finished product is safe and secure for end users. Other business risks, such as data breaches, financial loss, and legal and regulatory fees, will be reduced as a result.
- Shorter and more efficient Software Development Lifecycle
With the increase in cyberattacks, businesses are shifting their focus to Secure SDLC. Most developers believe that implementing security at every stage will slow down processes; however, SSDLC has the opposite effect. It enables the seamless integration of security into software development processes.
- Increased Stakeholder Security Awareness
Developing software in today’s competitive market is difficult enough, let alone attending to the security aspect. Secure SDLC is advantageous because it raises the security awareness of stakeholders as they collaborate to create a secure application.
- More Extensive Testing
Using a secure SDLC allows your development team to concentrate on creating the best products for your customers. Because software testing is performed at each stage, any bugs or issues can be addressed effectively. When security testing is delayed, there is insufficient time to address any issues, which can have an impact on software quality and, as a result, your business operations, finances, and reputation.
The NIST Secure Software Development Framework
The Secure Software Development Framework (SSDF) was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to guide organizations in secure coding practices that reduce security flaws. Based on established standards from organizations such as OWASP, BSA, and SAFECode, this Framework defines fundamental secure software development strategies.
The NIST SSDF is divided into four groups:
People, processes, and technologies within the organization must be adequately prepared to perform secure software development. The first goal of preparation is to ensure that everyone involved in the SDLC is aware of the software development security requirements so that they can be considered as the software is developed. The various people involved in the SDLC must be assigned roles and responsibilities by organizations. This ensures that everyone involved in the SDLC, both inside and outside the organization, knows what is expected of them. Preparation also entails installing tools for secure development, particularly automation, to minimize human errors. Another step is to establish KPI’s.
- Software Protection. Organizations protect all software components,
whether internal or external, from unauthorized access and tampering. The most common source of security breaches is insecure coding practices in source code. As a result, to protect the codebase, organizations must track and document all code revisions. Secure software development professionals must also use secure coding practices such as monitoring for leaked secrets and repositories, verifying software integrity, and archiving each software release.
- Secured Software Development There are some recommended
– Addressing security concerns early in the design process.
– Reviewing the software design with the in-house cybersecurity team
to ensure it meets security requirements and standards.
– Reusing existing, secure code.
– Configuring the compiler and interpreter to create processes that
ensure executable security.
– Manually inspecting human-readable code for flaws.
– Using software tools such as static application and dynamic
application testing tools to identify vulnerabilities without requiring
– Setting up software to use default security settings.
4. Monitoring and detecting vulnerabilities. The NIST SSDF recommends that you identify vulnerabilities in your application on a regular basis. Many errors and bugs that were not discovered during testing will become apparent as more users begin to use your application after its release. You must constantly monitor for security flaws. You must also have a strategy in place for assessing, prioritizing, and correcting software vulnerabilities. This aids in prioritizing the most serious vulnerabilities, allowing them to be addressed first.
Key Roles in Secure Software Development Teams
The secure SDLC team includes some specific roles that are required to develop secure software.
• Security Software Engineer, an expert who is in charge of testing and implementing security-related tools and applications and taking the lead in software design. They use software security systems such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls to prevent leaks, taps, breaches, and other types of cyberattacks.
• System Architect, designing the software architecture based on security requirements.
• Software Engineer, who develops the application’s frontend and backend using secure coding practices.
• Penetration testers simulate cyber-attacks to identify and report security flaws. They identify vulnerabilities that a potential cybercriminal or malware could exploit.
• Compliance expert who assists the organization in meeting regulatory requirements regarding software security.
• Cloud Engineers identify and integrate cloud computing solutions that help organizations operate more efficiently and securely, as well as troubleshoot cloud applications when there are security or performance issues.
Secure software development practices assist you in integrating security throughout the software development lifecycle. This reduces the likelihood of errors after product release and the financial costs of repairing them.
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