Software development is time-consuming and requires thousands of working hours before the final product is released to the intended customers. One way to ensure your software’s integrity is to include security during development. Organizations must opt for a cost-effective, secure software design that complies with security regulations defined by international standards regulators.
Importance of Secure Software Design
Developers use secure software development as a methodology to create software by incorporating security into every phase of the Software Development Life Cycle. The idea is to bake security into the code from its inception instead of fixing it after the quality assurance department uncovers product flaws.
Traditionally, developers view security as an obstacle that distracts them from innovation and creativity by creating delays in delivering the product to the intended market. In reality, this mindset hurts their company’s profit margin as it costs extensively to fix bugs during implementation or testing.
Building an application with a security mindset makes it easier to identify and fix the same bug during the design phase. Therefore, security deserves to be in a preeminent position during software engineering, but most organizations fail to incorporate security in their SDLC and struggle to compete with others.
At its core, secure software design stresses the need to test early. Organizations must consider this philosophy when actively conducting status and dynamic security testing throughout the development process. A secure software development approach requires the development team to document security requirements as well as the functional requirements of their projects.
DevOps teams also need to conduct risk analysis during the design phase of the development lifecycle because it can help them identify potential environmental threats. If your organization plans to offer secure software for its users, you must lay the foundation for success by preparing your team, procedures, and technology to put security first.
Understanding a secure software development policy
Organizations build a secure software development policy as guidelines that define the practices and procedures. Development teams must follow this policy to decrease the risk of vulnerabilities during development. A secure software development policy should also contain precise instructions on how the team needs to view, assess, and demonstrate security throughout the SDLC. Projects also need to keep the policy in mind during risk management.
A secure software development policy is essential to keep your development costs to a minimum as it establishes the rules your teams need to follow. Your employees must have a clear understanding of their duties while receiving thorough training and undergoing strict screening to ensure compliance.
Segregating duties ensures that a single person does not have control or knowledge of the entire project because testing protocols need to assess the contribution of all team members to ensure compliance with standards. A secure software development policy must outline the necessary processes to protect software as the separation of development, testing, and operational environments breed autonomy, prevent test biases and unauthorized changing of source code.
Access control is another essential part of a secure software development policy that ensures employees only have access to data that is relevant to their job description. Your policy needs a version control clause because it helps track all sources and timestamps whenever a team member alters the code.
The Main Stages of Secure Development
The National Institute of Standards and Technology built a framework that organizes secure software development into four stages:
- Preparing the organization: The people, processes, and technology that make up the organization need to be prepared for secure software development at the managerial level for every project.
- Protecting the software: Every software component needs to be protected from tampering and unauthorized access.
- Producing well-secure software: The organization must incorporate security in every stage of the development life cycle to ensure the software has minimal vulnerabilities in releases.
- Responding to vulnerabilities: Teams must identify vulnerabilities in their software and proceed with an appropriate response to address them and prevent similar instances from occurring in the future.
Secure software development allows you to incorporate safety and security during the developing process, ensuring its integrity. This is a cost-effective and secure solution, that has many benefits, as we have discussed above. If you need more help on how to go about it, we have many articles on secure programming, such as good coding practices, software analysis, and more.