The growing influence of the Internet on people and society, in general, means that software is everywhere these days. You can even find it in the most unexpected places. Software programs have become so prevalent that they fade into the background without much notice because of being interwoven so seamlessly into modern living’s fabric. People interact with it on their computers, may it be at home or in the office. Routine everyday activities also involve software, such as making a phone call, listening to music, withdrawing cash from an ATM, buying things at the supermarket, and driving cars.
The problem is that flaws are everywhere in software systems too, and they can threaten the security and safety of both the system itself and its users. The best thing to do is to incorporate security into all of the software development lifecycle’s phases. Proactively securing the software development process is the most effective way to avoid or prevent such vulnerabilities.
But what are the advantages of security in software development? Why is it essential? Please read on below to learn more about it.
The Importance of a Secure Software Development
Security in software development, especially those around enterprise software, is essential due to the following advantages:
- Reduces Costs
Implementing mitigation processes and security controls for vulnerabilities is really costly. That’s why early identification of weaknesses is essential. It helps reduce the costs because vulnerabilities get fixed during the development process. Addressing the problem during the software development life cycle (SDLC) in real-time is much less costly than deploying patching software later.
- Builds A Culture of Security
Secure software development will lead to an increased likelihood of catching issues. It will be evident not only during the development process but also in other areas of a company or organization. It will help build a culture of security which is another advantage that security in SDLC brings.
- Ensures Secure Coding
All essential security decisions get recorded before development begins since security in a secure software development life cycle is integrated from the design stage. Any concerns in terms of security risks related to the project aren’t kept secret to both the development and management teams. As a result, all can work towards the fine-tuning of the development strategy. It helps organizations ensure that as the SDLC progresses, secure code is always present.
- Overall Reduction of An Organization’s Intrinsic Business Risks
Helping reduce the intrinsic business risks for an organization is one of the most significant reasons why a secure software development life cycle is essential. Companies that fall victim to cyberattacks tend to lose so much more than anticipated. It’s true whether the attack involves critical security issues like denial of service (DoS) or regular ones like XML or SQL injections.
- Software Development Regulatory Considerations
Companies in some industries must take extra care to prevent unauthorized breaches of their software and data because of government regulations. For example, healthcare organizations have to secure patients’ PHI or protected health information as required by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). If the information wasn’t adequately protected, the company might face financial penalties. Soon after a data breach’s discovery, the organization must also report the attack to the authorities.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is another security standard specifically designed for organizations handling or storing customers’ payment card information. Firewall installation and encryption of cardholder data transmission across open networks are some of the requirements set by PCI-DSS. Revocation of a company’s ability to process payment cards may result from failure to meet the guidelines. Harsh fines may also be imposed.
To avoid penalties, security in software development must be in place among organizations operating under these regulations.
Working with Security Testing Providers to Ensure a Secure SDLC
There are many potential security flaws and vulnerabilities that business owners need to account for, and it can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to deal with it alone. More companies now rely on managed security providers and automated security testing solutions to assist them during the development process. Visit forallsecure.com and other websites that provide SDLC testing solutions to learn more about their services.
Organizations would like to focus on their core business functions. That’s why it’s best to leave the security testing to the experts. The software you’re currently working on will undergo various tests to give you a clear view of your software programs’ attack resiliency. You’ll also gain peace of mind from the fact that different weaknesses and flaws can’t escape automated vulnerability scanners.
How to Incorporate Security into the Software Development Life Cycle
A series of phases compose the software development life cycle. They involve the gathering of requirements, designing, testing, and then maintenance. Security should be the focus during this process, whether you’re using the agile methodology to prioritize speed and flexibility or the sequential (waterfall) model.
Making security a priority means working under the following guidelines:
- Check your software for common vulnerabilities. You can look for some of the top software security risks on the web.
- It’s also essential to ensure that your developers are trained on secure programming principles. Have them consult reference guides for safe coding practices at regular intervals.
- A vulnerability in the web application development framework Apache Struts caused the massive Equifax data breach in 2017. The company should have patched it already but failed to update it as soon as possible. Therefore, another way of incorporating security into the SDLC is by keeping development tools and technologies as up-to-date as possible.
- Last but not least, the testing process should include automated security tests.
In addition to the guidelines above, the following best practices can also help:
- Classify all information you’ll be handling after understanding their sensitivity.
- Be more committed to authentication.
- Ensure that every sensitive information is stored with encryption.
- Only use third-party libraries from secure and established providers.
- Join training/seminars on content security, network security, and endpoint security.
- Ensure that no unnecessary data gets fetched in API responses when designing the database.
- Ensure that each access point has security controls and authorization.
- Check for security violations by testing the platform very well several times.
More enterprises now aim to rapidly deliver software program releases with state-of-the-art features to their customers. It’s their way of staying ahead of the competition. It’s already a significant challenge to come up with and develop innovative solutions. The need to ensure that the software is secure makes the process more difficult.
However, data breaches can lead to decreased sales, reduced customer retention rates, weak customer relationships, and damaged market reputation. So, no matter how overwhelming it can be, incorporating security in software development is essential. It helps prevent most vulnerabilities promptly, protecting organizations from potential cyberattacks.