Steps to Securely Developing Software

Development of software

Paying attention to your application security procedures is critical for ensuring that your software isn’t stolen or hacked into by cybercriminals. However, this can be tricky to achieve due to how hackers are always inventing new ways to infiltrate weaknesses in a company’s software.

Organizations that don’t prioritize software security are putting themselves at a bigger risk of being attacked. Not to mention, the fewer barriers there are for hackers to access your system, the more data they can take and the more likely it is that the damage caused will be irreparable. A company’s reputation can be lost and they can experience financial loss on a huge scale.

Governments are even putting measures in place that require organizations to integrate safeguarding procedures to protect data during all stages of the development cycle. Companies that don’t adhere to these measures can face fines.

This post covers what some of the best secure development lifecycle practices involve. By the end, you’ll be feeling more assured about the steps you can take to keep your applications secure.

Secure Development Lifecycle Practices

The secure development lifecycle process involves a combination of several practices that are outlined below. They minimize vulnerabilities in your software and should be integrated during all stages of development.

Planning

Without proper planning, your organization is more exposed to attacks from sophisticated cybercriminals. Creating a plan for how you want to implement your security practices should be the first step before you begin developing.

This includes carrying out a discovery to find security measures that your software must comply with to be secure. Create a plan that includes how security teams will implement measures to adhere to guidelines and that they will do so from the earliest stages of development.

Regulatory and technical requirements should be part of the plan that you create. This helps security teams have a clear understanding of which security issues are compliant and which ones aren’t.

Organizations also provide training to provide security and IT teams with a more in-depth understanding of what threats they are likely to face. This training helps to prepare teams for incoming threats so that they are familiar with them so deal with them efficiently if the time comes.

Modeling Your Application Securely

After the initial planning stage, your organization must model how it plans to create and release applications. This part of the process ensures that products adhere to requirements and that the structure and uses of the application are already known to help the development process go smoother.

One of the key parts of this process involves creating likely scenarios in which attackers are likely to try and infiltrate your system. Once you have found these vulnerable areas, security teams can put measures in place as part of the application design.

Design reviews during the early stages of development can be incredibly helpful for giving developers a good sense of the security risks before they go ahead with the next stages. Furthermore, companies should consider the vulnerabilities that come with using third-party software within their applications.

Security teams and developers should monitor the security of third-party elements and apply fixes when vulnerabilities begin to show. This helps to prevent the rest of the application from being put at risk.

This step aims to discover weaknesses before they get a chance to cause bigger issues within your application later down the line. It also reduces the risks involved with using third-party elements to help keep everyone at ease.

Safely Executing Your Application

When your application is being created, teams are often having to work to debug code and ensure that the app is strong enough for testing.

Secure coding is a practice that involves programmers being given a chance to fix any errors that may have been made along the way. Programmers can go through a checklist of errors and make sure that the code they’ve created doesn’t land in any of the common pitfalls.

SAST (static application scanning tools) can then be used to discover weaknesses within written code without you having to run the app. This is an efficient process that enables you to prevent vulnerabilities from being present once the application goes live.

Creating secure applications always requires manually reviewing code. It provides developers with an opportunity to find problems and fix them before they become too big of a problem. Automated scanning tools can also come in handy for providing teams with notifications when anomalies are detected so that they can fix them and move on.

Testing

The testing stage helps developers discover errors and vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed before running the application.

Dynamic scanning is one of the common ways that organizations detect vulnerabilities. DAST (dynamic scanning tools) simulate attacks to give you a good idea about ways that cybercriminals may try to gain entry into your system. As a result, you can put measures in place to prevent hackers from exploiting weak areas.

Dynamic scanning is also great for providing you with details on where misconfiguration errors have occurred. Misconfiguration errors can cause serious issues to security down the line and finding them early on can save you a lot of trouble.

Penetration testing should also be carried out and it also simulates how cybercriminals may attack your system. Many organizations choose to use a third-party service that creates intricate attacks that your security teams may not have produced on their own. This gives you a broader idea of how attackers could try to exploit your application in ways that you may not have thought of.

Fuzz testing is a method used to discover if applications can manage certain inputs properly. You can use automated tools that carry out fuzz testing that create inputs randomly for you to observe how your application handles it.

Once you have the results from fuzz testing, you can put measures in place to help prevent attacks that come from inputs. SQL injections are a common type of threat that you can protect your app against through fuzz testing.

Conclusion

Securely developing your software using the methods mentioned in this post can help your organization to drastically reduce vulnerabilities during all stages of a product cycle. Companies also save on costs by avoiding having to spend on fixing issues at a later date when they’re more serious and complex.

A secure development lifecycle approach also means that your organization is compliant with regulations and laws that are set out by the government. This prevents your applications from coming under fire from regulations so that the company doesn’t face legal problems.

Be sure to use the details found throughout this post to keep your software secured from the very beginning. We hope that the information found here has proven to be useful in helping you know how to secure your software.