When it comes to the fun bits – creating, maintaining, releasing, designing software – most organizations have it down to a science. They actually enjoy it. Well-oiled machines. When it comes to securing software, to making it impenetrable, to risk assessment, to threat levels, they sort of drop the ball. The general idea is that security is a hindrance to their imagination. It’s an interference. It’s something that bars developers from pushing the envelope and creating really cool stuff. Nevertheless, those nifty features aren’t going to protect your customer or your business.
Creating a secure SDLC not only requires effort, at every stage of your software’s lifecycle but a total change of perspective — organizations have to flip the script and somehow mold their core beliefs into their vision and value set. It’s as important as the product.
SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle — it’s everything your software goes through. From that moment the lightbulb went off in someone’s head, to the second you get the reviews from your clients and start to build the 2.0 model. From inception, to decommission, or most likely replacement.
Normally, an SDLC includes the following phases:
- Test planning.
- Testing and results.
The problem arises that most organizations only start to investigate the chinks in their armor, their vulnerabilities, and their risks, at the testing stage. When they are up against a devilish deadline and have invested too much – sometimes of features that didn’t pan out. Fixing and securing software at a late stage in many cases cost organizations 10x than if they had picked up the problem earlier. More information about SDLC security requirements can be found at https://apiiro.com.
Why is secure SDLC important?
A secure SDLC is a software development lifecycle that ensures the security of any software product. A typical SDLC includes stages such as design, development, testing, release, and maintenance. However, a secure SDLC goes beyond this and includes security measures at each stage.
The first step in the process is to identify what needs to be secured. This can be done by analyzing the risks that could potentially affect the software product and its users. Once these risks are identified, they are then addressed with appropriate security measures such as encryption or authentication.
The next step is to develop a plan for how these risks will be mitigated throughout the entire lifecycle of the product. This plan should include solutions for things like data protection or how to handle compromised credentials.
The security in the SDLC is a key factor in the project’s success. Without it, there is a great chance that the project will not meet its goals and objectives. It’s an approach to developing software with security in mind from start to finish.
IBM reported that it could cost a company anywhere between 6x to 15x more fixing bugs or security issues late in an SDLC.
The advantages to having an SDLC security requirements checklist are:
- It’s faster and cheaper to integrate security features across the SDLC, not just at the very end.
- Your investors and stakeholders are aware of security considerations and a secure SDLC gives them peace of mind.
- You can detect flaws early on before you invest capital and manpower on code.
- You reduce risks.
- Your software comes out of the gate, into the consumer’s hands, more secure and more efficient.
How to achieve a secure SDLC — secure SDLC checklist
Security is a major concern for organizations, especially when it comes to their data and software. There are many different ways to achieve a secure SDLC. One way is to use security by design.
Security by design is a process of designing the system or product with security in mind. This means that the system or product has been designed with security features, such as encryption, from the start of the development process. To achieve this goal, there are three steps:
1) Identify potential risks and vulnerabilities
2) Identify countermeasures that will mitigate these risks
3) Implement these countermeasures
These three steps will be the nuts and bolts of your secure SDLC platform. Every one of your phases has to pass those three steps. What phases are those?
A good security expert will start poking holes in your software right there at the brainstorming session — or after the bar, when your developer comes at them with a crude drawing on a napkin of the “next big thing.”
This only increases during planning. The closer to inception errors are identified, the better it is for you. You won’t have to invest in features or code that’s simply undoable – security-wise. You’ll have more space to find vendors or third-party suppliers, if needed, for certain features.
Requirements and Analysis
During the requirement phase, it’s important to have a clear idea of not only the tools you’ll need but of their dependency and their security. In many cases, a breach won’t come from one of your processes, or developers, but from an outsourced vendor. Most companies, for example, have no protocol as to where their developers get code from — this is particularly troubling given today’s open-source database/lifestyle.
Architecture and Design
Code review during coding and building is paramount for secure SDLC. During this stage, the majority of your vulnerabilities will rear their ugly heads.
Development & Testing
By now, due to dynamic testing features and development frameworks, this stage is rather well known by most companies. It’s the only current SDLC that takes into account security features and how they affect the consumer and company.
Part of the secure SDLC checklist is maintenance. The reviews have come in, millions of users are operating your system, errors and bugs are bound to show up. Update fixes and patches are key, and how to deploy them is as important as how you developed them.
Triple check your SDLC security requirements
A breach, a hiccup, a bug, a vulnerability may end up costing your company anywhere between $2 to $6 million. It’s not just an issue of fixing the error, but a question of the impact it will have on your brand, your reputation, and your downtime.