Most organisations have a secure software development process in place that helps them simplify their development process. However, the increasing complexity and number of business challenges associated with insecure software applications have made it essential to integrate security into all the phases of the software development life cycle (SDLC), to make the software development process more secure.
Hackers are becoming more refined in the ways they utilise security exposure and attack businesses. Cyber attacks are now more challenging to track and address.
Companies are using a secure software development life cycle technique to identify and alleviate security threats. As such, it is not limited to only software developers or the security team. Cross-functional teams can simply adopt a secure software development process in order to promote better security across various phases of the SDLC.
A secure software development lifecycle is a framework that determines the entire development process to make a software product while integrating security at all stages - from the planning, application design, software application development, testing, and deployment stage.
Generally, secure software development processes are divided into the following stages:
Security requirements for the software application are fixed during this stage. Security experts analyse the important security challenges within the software application such as functionality, and type of information being used. It also contains an internal security risk assessment and audit to avoid future conflict.
The two key points to remember to ensure secure software development while working with client’s requirements are:
The software security consultants should predict possible risks to the software and convey them in misuse cases. Meanwhile, such cases should be covered by alleviation actions described in use cases.
A misuse case: unauthorised user efforts to gain access to a customer’s application.
A use case:All such efforts should be logged and analysed by a SIEM system.
When testing security risks, follow the security guidelines from authorised sources. There you will find more requirements specific to your business area to be addressed.
In the requirement analysis stage, software security experts should provide business analysts, who create the project requirement document, with the software application’s risk profile. This requirement document contains details about the application's security challenges and prediction of malicious attacks categorised by the severity level.
In this stage, software security is built into the design of the application. The app developer will carry out threat modeling where there are six security principles to follow. The app developer should also design the remedies to address security threats detected and address the security requirements.
Design Security principles to follow:
Least privilege: Software architecture should enable the least user privileges for normal functioning.
Privilege separation: Certain actions in software should be permitted to a fixed number of users with higher privileges.
Complete mediation: All software users should be checked for authority. That decreases the possibilities of privilege rise for a user with limited rights.
Multiple security layers: By enabling this principle, you’ll avoid the threat of a single point of security failure that will undermine the entire software.
Secure failure: In case your software stops operating, it should fail in a secure state. Although the software application is not available anymore, it should still maintain confidentiality and integrity. So, ensure you’ve designed secure deficits that refuse access, undo all the changes and return the system to a secure state in case of emergency.
User-friendly security: Software design should integrate security aspects in a way that doesn’t obstruct UX. If software application security is obtrusive, users will refuse to use it.
In the development stage, ensure that software application programming code is developed securely using security measures identified during the application design phase. Organisations should also conduct training sessions for their developers to understand the secure software development process better and enable them to perform unit testing of security features of the software application. Review the code of the developers to make sure their code does not introduce any security vulnerabilities.
Once the software application is in the testing stage, it is checked to ensure that it meets all security standards. Thorough security testing is performed including further static code analysis, dynamic analysis, integration testing, and penetration testing.
Generally, the testing phase is focused on finding bugs that don’t allow the software application to work according to the customer’s expectations and requirements. It’s the last time to check and ensure whether the developed software application can manage security attacks by practicing application penetration testing. The operation of a software application should be performed in every build. To bring down the cost, choose automated penetration tests that will scan each build in compliance with the same scenario to extract the most critical vulnerabilities.
In addition, exploratory penetration testing should be performed in every looping of the secure software development process when the application enters the release stage. In this case, penetration testers don’t look for specific vulnerabilities. Instead, trusting in their experience and insight, engineers check the software system for potential security defects.
In this phase, all security controls of software application are checked once more, static analysis (secure code review), dynamic, configuration, and container security, before the application is deployed. After that, continuous monitoring and software updating is run to identify security vulnerabilities in application and address them in a timely manner.
Suitable secure software development requires additional expenses and in-depth involvement of security experts. If software security is implemented consistently, stage by stage, it’s essential to consider the security feature awareness of each team member and undertake additional testing throughout the software development process.
As businesses compete to stay ahead of their competition, they all aim to deliver quick software program releases to their clients with advanced features. Coming up with innovative software solutions and developing them is a big challenge, as is ensuring that the software is secure.
Instead of just conducting security testing at the final stage, when you’re close to deadline, it’s better and easier to insert security at all the stages of development. A secure software development process is an efficient and effective way to integrate security as part of the software development process.
It brings together all the stakeholders involved in the software project to ensure that the software application is secure.
Software developers are educated and trained about the best security software coding practices and frameworks available for better security. They may also use automated secure software tools to quickly identify security risks in the code.
The management team can also influence a secure software development process to design a strategic approach for a more secure software product. For example, they can conduct a gap analysis to understand what approaches or activities currently exist in their organisation and their effectiveness.
Setting up security policies or approaches that will help you with compliance and also permit you to insert security measures at the most basic level is necessary. You can hire security experts who can assess your software security needs and design a roadmap to help your organisation enhance your software application security.
There are many benefits of using a secure software development life cycle. Some of the most important advantages that you should know about:
1. Early recognition of software security vulnerabilities helps to reduce costs to implement security controls and update processes of vulnerabilities. The security vulnerabilities of a software application are fixed during the development process, instead of deploying patching software, which is far more costly when compared to addressing the problem in real-time during the software development life cycle.
2. Another advantage of a secure software development life cycle is it helps to build a culture of security that will catch issues in the software development process and in other areas of the organisation as well.
3. Since security is incorporated at the design phase in a secure software development life cycle, key security decisions are documented before development starts. Both the management and development teams of an organisation are aware of the security challenges and concerns related to the project. This, in turn, helps refine the software development strategy to ensure secure code is built as the software development process progresses.
4. One of the major advantages of a secure software development life cycle is that it helps in the overall decline of inherent business challenges for the organisation. Whether it’s common security attacks like SQL or XML injections, or key security issues like denial of service (DoS), companies that suffer from cybersecurity attacks tend to lose more than anticipated.
Data abuse can lead to a broken market reputation, stock value, weaker customer relationships, and decreased sales. A secure software development process helps to avoid high-security vulnerabilities in a timely manner, thereby protecting an organisation from cyber attacks.
Adopting a secure software development process is an essential need. We understand that software development projects and applications have advanced and complex features, but the security of the application is essential.
Our expert security teams identify where and how security vulnerabilities can impact your software application. While you focus on your business operations, we take care of the “secure” part of your software development life cycle (SDLC) for your projects.
At ISH Technologies, we focus on integrating security into all stages of the software development process to ensure you don’t face the rage of cyber security attacks and put your customers’ data at risk.
We carry out threat modeling, build security test cases, conduct penetration testing, and other tests throughout the software development process. By using automated security tools and working with expert security testers, we work efficiently and help you cut costs for your projects. You can contact us here.