Providing secure development of applications involves making sure that security concepts and processes are taken into consideration from the earliest phases of the software development lifecycle. This should be initiated throughout the whole development process, rather than considering security as the typical end-state validation activity. Reliance should not purely be upon a final penetration testing or web application scan.
The Software Development Life Cycle is a process every software team should define and follow in order to develop quality products. An SDLC can be fine-tuned and personalized to suit your company, its services, its processes and its products well as your in-house systems.
The Software Development Life Cycle always includes some common traits which do not really vary, however, over the years several theories and approaches have been developed by the industry to allow teams to engage in the process that best suits their business needs.
So however you adapt it, you should at least introduce steps for gathering requirements, designing your software, coding and finally testing before deploying your products. You should also note that because the SDLC system is very adaptable, you can add in your own bespoke activities if needed or take out some that appear irrelevant. At the same time you might want to refine or add to your existing procedures and policies if the plan seems to demand it. Whilst working through the development of your application you will need to involve all necessary staff, ranging from management through to administrative/technical team workers.
Everyone needs to be involved in preparation and discussion and who does what will also depend very largely upon what type of software is being developed. Of course, software development introduces conflicting priorities, for example rapid prototyping can appeal but it does not always results in something of a high quality as omitting commented code may allow you to quickly meet with marketing requirements and budgets, but can cause plenty of security and quality issues going forward.
Security needs to be included during each step of any application development process. If you are not already doing so, you need to think about whether your security is sufficient during each stage. A "secured" Software Development Lifecycle is commonly referred to as Secure SDLC (SSDLC). Every step in the process will take security into account.
Some organizations work on the basis that software is assessed and then security issues are dealt with as an afterthought. This may work as an option but can prove to be less cost effective when it comes to time and money spent. Security is in fact part of the whole software lifecycle.
Security is absolutely essential and no-one can question that. It may take longer and including security into your Secure SDLC process may involve a more intricate process. However, the alternatives do not bear thinking about as there are always hackers only too eager to break into systems.
Your Secure SDLC system may make use of the classic waterfall methodology or be based on the agile manifesto – the choice is yours, the objective remains the same.
The consequences of not including security within the SDLC process can be disastrous and could cause devastating consequences for companies' reputation and profits.
By ensuring that your SDLC is secure, excessive un-planned costs can be avoided and security issues tackled as you won't be waiting for threats to materialize and then having to invest money in fixing existing or potential issues that could have been avoided.
Forewarned is forearmed and it always pays to take security seriously and to treat it with the respect that it deserves.
Make sure you include security in your software development lifecycle process: