31 Aug, 2020

Secure Software Development Life Cycles Made Simple

by nVisium

If you lead a software development team you are obviously familiar with Software development Life Cycles (SDLC) methodologies. But it doesn’t matter if you have adopted the Waterfall, V-shaped, Iterative, Spiral, Big Bang or an Agile model, as they will all need some adaptation for security, especially as more cyberattacks are reported daily.

SDLC Demystified

While software development life cycles originated back in the 1960’s, the structured concepts we recognize today really didn’t form until the 1980’s. Technopedia offers this simple definition for those who haven’t been exposed to SDLC before:

“The software development life cycle (SDLC) is a key part of information technology practices in today's enterprise world. SDLC has undergone many changes and evolved throughout the ages of big data, cloud delivery and AI/ML automation, but it is still a key framework for understanding the delivery of software products.”

The Technopedia article goes on to offer these five key takeaways:

  • SDLC encompasses planning, implementation, testing, documentation, deployment and maintenance.
  • Models shifted from traditional staged SDLC processes, to agile, and then to Devops.
  • Agile and Devops as practices merged traditional staging in new and interesting ways.
  • The cloud brought the arrival of web-delivered resources into the picture.
  • Although SDLC is now much changed, the concept remains largely the same.
Unfortunately, today’s level of cybercriminal activity doesn’t allow for your normal SDLC to be effective at mitigating the risk of cyber-attack exposure. This brings us to the advent of Secure SDLC.

Critical Components For Secure SDLC

The fundamental reason to implement a secure development life cycle is to reduce the cyberattack risk exposure of your in-house development projects. Risk mitigation extends beyond periodic assessments, code remediation, and training. The need for continuously implementing security strategies, technology, and policies that align with your organization’s goals and development methodologies are paramount to success. In order to develop a continuous security model, you will need to address the goals of identifying and remediating security vulnerabilities in rapid cycles. In doing so, you increase the number of identified vulnerabilities and simultaneously decrease the time to remediate them.

In order to accomplish this rapid iterative approach, the following six critical success factors should be addressed:

  • Secure Architectural Review: Comprehensive review of the application or system design, including third-party services, data storage and transmission, infrastructure design, and more. The result should not only include a list of security risks, but also guidance to resolve these identified risks.
  • Continuous Application Assessments: Continuously scanning for common vulnerabilities across operating system name and version, network ports open, services listening on the ports, and data “leaked” by the listening services
  • Security Tooling Integration: Integration of manual and automated processes to uncover and remediate security risks. This should leverage software tools used for detection of security risks and our secure development expertise to remediate vulnerabilities in your development cycles. Especially critical in DevOps or Agile development shops where speed is paramount and traditional approaches fall short.
  • Software Security Program: Evaluation of your current software security program and tailored recommendations to improve, grow and mature as an organization. This should be designed to provide detailed analysis, maturity scoring, and a future roadmap for your software security program based on the OWASP Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM) Framework
  • Digital Transformation Security Services: Achieve agility and modernize your software and systems to leverage cloud, microservices, and containerized infrastructure using best-of-breed security tactics.
  • Code Remediation: This should be designed to ensure you don’t end up with a pile of unresolved bugs and security debt once an assessment is complete. It should be integrated with your development team and follow your methodology as fixed code is submitted.
Success is not always guaranteed. Sometimes it helps to bring in experienced partners to get the process planed, launched and managed correctly.

trusted Partner For Secure Development

Your primary aim should be to make security part of the entire software development life cycle. To accomplish this, you should find a trusted partner with the capabilities to assist your team in designing and implementing customized security strategies, technology, and policies that are meaningful and applicable to your organization’s software development processes and methodologies.

nVisium empowers organizations to eliminate application and cloud security vulnerabilities before cyber threats exploit them with proven in-depth security assessments, remediation and training programs. Our experienced team of security-savvy developers and engineers guide organizations to build best practices with high ROI into their engineering and secure development life cycles across applications, operating systems, networks, mobile, cloud and IoT through services, software solutions and R&D unique to business operations and compliance initiatives. Additionally, nVisium provides a fully managed platform for tracking and measuring performance as well as instructor-led and online training.

Secure development life cycles don’t happen automatically. They require a specific discipline backed by proven processes and tools. Give us a call to better understand how you can more effectively implement secure development life cycles or better yet, schedule a consultation today.

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