Security in Software Development
It’s hard to overstress the importance of software development security today since applications are hacked daily with constantly changing tactics, while security and development leaders need solutions and methodologies to minimize the risks. A huge opportunity exists to infuse better security within the Software Development Life Cycle through a combination of awareness, activities, and workflows such that the outcome would be far more secure software.Contact us
What is Secure Software Development?
Secure software development is a methodology (often associated with DevSecOps) for creating software that incorporates security into every phase of the SDLC. Security is baked into the code from inception rather than addressed after testing reveals critical product flaws. Security becomes part of the planning phase, incorporated long before a single line of code is written.
Traditionally, security is viewed as an impediment to innovation that creates delays in getting the product to market. This thinking can definitely be considered harmful, as it’s better to prevent security breaches in design, development process, code scanning, etc., and such prevention saves a lot of money for businesses.
Most importantly, how happy will customers be with the cool new features of an application if the product is laden with vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit? Security deserves a preeminent position in the software engineering process today, and organizations failing to do so will find themselves struggling to compete.
BeKey focuses both on applying security in software development life cycles and establishing security across the development infrastructure, information storage policies, human resource and supplier management, assets used, communication channels, physical location, business operations, and more.
How Can Security Become Part of the SDLC from the Beginning?
First, we need to plan. While planning may be the most contentious phase of the secure software development life cycle, it’s also often the most important. During this phase, we determine what your project’s security requirements are.
We test often. A secure software development philosophy stresses employing static and dynamic security testing throughout the development process. The changes and fixes are usually small if the convention is correct from the beginning.
Our development teams also document software security requirements alongside the functional requirements.
Conducting risk analysis during design can be beneficial in helping you identify potential environmental threats.
Why is Security Important in Software Development?
When it comes to security in software development, it’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure. It’s always more profitable in the long run to invest in proper measures beforehand. Why should you focus efforts and costs on this aspect even if you haven’t felt the need for action or prevention just yet?
The ultimate importance of security in software development must not be underestimated, and here are just a few reasons why:
- Firstly, having secure software can help to preserve your company’s reputation and credibility. If you compromise the data of a customer in any way, you lose that customer, never to retain them again. On top of that, further business growth and new customer attraction will be complicated by that.
- Secondly, reliable products keep your customers’ accounts safe. This especially concerns commercial solutions that collect financial data. With the recent increase in data breaches, everybody is taking a risk when they share credit card credentials and banking passwords. It’s every provider’s task not to contribute to that risk.
- Finally, solutions with reinforced protection can help your company avoid legal action. If your system is breached and customer data is stolen in a major way, you could be liable for huge legal fines and damages. Timely measures should just keep you clear from lengthy, reputation-shattering legal processes.
What Are the Secure Software Development Life Cycle Processes?
Implementing SDLC security affects every phase of the software development process. It is far more efficient and much cheaper than waiting for these security issues to manifest in the deployed application. Secure software development life cycle processes incorporate security as a component of every phase of the SDLC.
Best Practices for Securing the Software Development Lifecycle
Securing the software development lifecycle requires a multi-pronged, multi-layered security strategy.
Software Design Security Challenges
The first stage of software development is the planning stage. There are no active security threats at this stage because no code has been written yet. Still, developers should take steps during application planning and design to assess the security posture of the code they plan to write.
They should think, for example, about how the number of microservices that they plan to implement, and the way those microservices interact, could impact the attack surface of the application. They should also think about how they will enforce best practices like zero trust and micro-segmentation within the application architecture they are planning. And they should consider how third-party dependencies (such as open-source libraries or modules) that they plan to use could introduce security vulnerabilities into their codebase.
Coding Security Challenges
The next stage of the development lifecycle is coding. Because code during this stage is typically not exposed to third-party access, the risks of active attacks are low. Nonetheless, it’s critical to ensure that strong access controls are in place within the Continuous Integration servers, source code management systems, and other development tools that developers use during this stage. Identifying security issues makes it easy to fix and prevent vulnerabilities in production.
Secrets vaults, too, can be useful for securing code during the development stage. Secrets vaults provide a secure means of managing passwords, access keys, and other sensitive data developers may use during the development lifecycle. Without secrets vaults, this data could end up in plaintext form within the source code, which is vulnerable to unauthorized third-party access.
At this stage, we recommend performing static application security testing, or SAST, for code analysis at the repository level. Also, we pay attention to linters — programs that check the code for compliance with standards in accordance with a certain set of rules. Each individual rule doesn’t seem very important, but following them all is the foundation of good code.
Deployment Security Risks
At this stage, the new or updated application is deployed into a production environment and exposed to end users. The main danger at this stage can be too wide a list of open ports and incorrect security settings — everything that in one way or another can be associated with open access and permissions.
Because there is always a possibility that some vulnerabilities will remain undetected, it’s best practice to run an automatic scan after the deployment step.
Testing & Software Security
This stage is also a good opportunity to identify security risks that linger within the code. Here manual security testing, Dynamic Application Security Testing, or DAST, and penetration testing can bring excellent results. Ideally, a comprehensive suite of these tests will be run against the application during the testing stage of the software development lifecycle.
We also recommend doing penetration testing externally, with the involvement of a professional company that will perform it with a certain regularity, for example, once a quarter. BeKey, in turn, can provide you with such a service.
Just as the software development lifecycle itself includes multiple stages and multiple tools, SDLC security requires a many-layered approach.
BeKey: Your Software Security Partner
We at BeKey provide businesses the opportunity to have risk-and-worry-free software solutions. Our experience in cybersecurity and a vast pool of skilled security engineers, compliance experts, software architects, and developers trained in secure software design coding empower BeKey to plan and deliver resilient and compliant software.
Secure Software Development Consulting
- Helping shape software vision, eliciting and structuring software requirements, including security requirements
- Designing secure software architecture, helping choose a tech stack
- Delivering secured PoC/MVP
- Delivering a detailed development roadmap with security in mind
- Planning a DevSecOps strategy and security audit
Secure Software Development
- Software requirements engineering, including security requirements
- Secure software design
- Development using the best practices of secure coding
- Regular code reviews by security experts
- Post-commit penetration testing (automated/manual)
- Establishing secure CI/CD pipelines
What is software security about?
Security in software development is a collection of efforts and solutions focused on the protection of products from malicious or unintentional manipulations. Any commonly used digital solution today must have measures in place to prevent unauthorized access, change, or destruction of the data and code contained within it. This is why firewalls, encryption, authentication, and authorization protocols exist in the first place.
How does security in software development work?
Security in software development requires a multifaceted approach, including the timely employment of the right tech tools and regular updating of the operating system and underlying applications. It also involves writing secure code, setting up permissions and authentication processes, and monitoring your system for any suspicious activity.
Beyond this, it also works by incorporating various measures in terms of software development life cycle workflows:
- safe coding practices;
- penetration testing;
- combined static and dynamic code analysis;
- limited access control.
What are the benefits of security in software development?
- Protects the reputation of organizations. When security measures are in place, businesses can protect their reputation from security breaches.
- Reduces security risks. By implementing security measures, companies can downsize the security risks posed by malicious actors.
- Ensures user privacy. Security measures help guarantee that users’ data and information remain secure.
- Provides peace of mind. When security measures are in place, organizations can be confident that their data and systems remain safe from malicious attacks.
- Provides regulation compliance. HIPAA, GDPR, and other security regulations require organizations to have security measures in place.
- Saves the bottom line. Security measures can help save money by preventing breaches and associated costs.