Why is Security Important to the SDLC?

SDLC stands for the Software Development Lifecycle and is used to refer to the process of developing a software product. It is extremely vital to keep security in mind during every step of the process, or as we in the cybersecurity world say, “bake security into your software development.”

Using SDLC security practices will provide risk exposure for your software. Remember, you can’t defend against risks you don’t see. In the long run it will also save you time and money. The worst thing would be to get all the way to the end of the process only to then realize your software is insecure. Starting over would set you back tremendously, so deciding whether or not to take security measures throughout the lifecycle shouldn’t even be a question.

Security During the Analysis Phase

In the beginning of the SDLC, you have the analysis phase. This is where your threat analysis should take place, which will identify risks ahead of time so you can avoid them during development. Look into all the functional requirements of your software. Do any of these requirements pose any threat? If so, is the functional requirement truly required, or is it more of a “nice to have” feature? A threat analysis will tell you where the risks lie, which gives you a better understanding of how to approach and avoid them.

Security During Development & Testing

Always use secure coding best practices during development. Throughout the coding process, you should also implement a series of checks and balances to review the security of the work being performed. You can do this by continually analyzing the source code and requiring the code to pass security testing before it is approved. It is also vital to conduct system and regression testing. Make sure that you have good controls in place, those controls meet regulatory compliance standards, and they are working as intended. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), which is used to scan applications after they are made, and Static Application Testing (SAT), which is used for code review, are two useful tools when it comes to checking security during the development process.

Controlling Security When Using a Third Party Developer

Quite often organizations will bring in third parties for design and development. It is especially important in this situation that you keep security in mind. Ensure that your developers are using secure coding best practices. If possible, you might consider making this and occasional security testing contractual requirements. To take security and oversight one step further, it would be best to utilize an independent individual or organization with knowledge of the process to perform these system checks.

Operations & Maintenance

“Baking” security into your software is critical because it gives you the ability to monitor your system deployment. After the software deployment, it is still susceptible to change during operations and maintenance (O&M). Changes could occur to the system’s environment, the threat landscape, or even the system or product itself. But if security has already been “baked” into your software, you will be able to spot these changes quickly and adjust as necessary.

Carson Inc. and Cybersecurity 

Our motto is finding what matters and controlling what counts. Don’t sacrifice your security for convenience. Carson Inc. has been helping its customers fight the battle against cyber threats for more than 22 years. Our team consists of Information Assurance (IA) experts with advanced degrees and technical certifications, including CISSP, CISA, LPT, GWASP, and ISO 27001. Our staff has in-depth knowledge of IT security statutory and regulatory guidance.

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