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Software Development

6 Best Practices For Secure Software Development

03 December 2021 by Sara Wahba

Risks associated with cyber security attacks are everywhere where we use any computing device - PC, server, mobile phone, you name it. Thus, everybody is under potential threats posed by cyberattacks - individuals, governments, businesses of all sizes. Let's take a look at six best practices for lean software development.

1. Regularly Update (patch) Software and Systems

Ensuring software security is not a one-time activity. Security updates are necessary to maintain your software's security, even if you aren't adding any new functionalities.
Software upgrades, in general, have a lot of advantages. It's all about the rewrites. These may include patching discovered security flaws and addressing or deleting computer bugs. Updates might bring in new features and remove old ones.  It's worth noting that hackers are fond of security defects, commonly known as software vulnerabilities. A software vulnerability is a security flaw or flaw discovered in a software application or operating system. Hackers can exploit the flaw by developing programs that target the vulnerability. An exploit can sometimes infect your computer without your knowledge or consent, such as when you visit a malicious website, open a phishing email, or play infected media. What comes next? The infection can steal data from your device or allow the attacker to take control of your machine and encrypt your files. Software patches are frequently included in software updates. To keep hackers out, they plug the security gaps.

Finally, upgrades might introduce new features and improve current ones in addition to patching security gaps. You don't want to be left behind, do you? With an upgrade, your software program could benefit from a boost in stability - no more crashing. Alternatively, an upgrade may improve program performance — more speed. You are entitled to nothing less.
Aside from patching and updating, it would help to create a software Bill of Materials (BOM). It will keep you informed about the composition of your software and which components were made by you or by a third party.

One important thing to note is that not all companies create updates that match your current needs. If you're outsourcing software development, you need a reputable company such as Kapsys, which will ensure that your software is up to date. Your work will only include clicking the updating button and letting us do the rest.

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2. Train Your Employees on Security Best Practices

If you are creating software, your developers should be familiar with lean software development best practices. This implies that you should teach them the most acceptable secure coding methods, as well as adequately educate and keep them up to date on the latest developments in this area. The lean software development lifecycle (SDLC) is intertwined with several related activities, including:

  • Developing rules for secure coding
  • Providing security awareness and secure coding training to developers
  • Establishing clear expectations for how quickly faults detected in production must be handled (also known as remediation SLAs).

Not all of these must occur for an efficient SDLC implementation, but similar to a jigsaw puzzle, you must put enough pieces together before you can see the whole picture. How can employee education contribute to organizational and information security? You might ask. Here's how:

  • It contributes to a well-managed security training curriculum.
  • Employee education also ensures that all project information and resources are well protected.
  • It has a multiplicative effect on your organization's software security needs and culture.

Make it a habit to provide responsive training to all staff as well as software engineering training to your developers. Among the best practices are:

  • Conducting phishing tests at each level of your project
  • Assisting your team in identifying, reviewing, and mitigating social engineering risks.

3. Have Written Security Policies in Place

Most small and medium-sized businesses do not have well-designed IT security policies to assure the success of their cyber security strategy and initiatives. The absence of a cyber-security policy can be due to a lack of resources to assist with policy development, tardy acceptance by leadership and management, or just a lack of knowledge of the significance of having an efficient web security program in place. A cyber-security policy, in essence, specifies the rules and procedures that all individuals who access and use an organization's IT assets and resources must follow. So, why do we require IT Security Policies? The purpose of these network security policies is to address security risks and adopt measures to mitigate IT security vulnerabilities and define how to recover in the event of a network incursion. Furthermore, the policies instruct employees on what they should and should not do. They also specify who has access to what and the repercussions for breaking the rules. The most important thing is to have "documented" security policies that identify your organization's security position. This is crucial in the event of a data breach and legal discovery. Your IT Security Policies should be grounded on these primary goals:

  • Confidentiality – the safeguarding of IT assets and networks against unwanted access.
  • Integrity entails ensuring that changes to IT assets are made in a precise and approved manner.
  • Availability – guaranteeing that authorized users have uninterrupted access to IT assets and networks.

4. Automate Your Business Processes

One of the core pillars of DevOps is speed. In a continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) system, getting code out the door and into production takes precedence over virtually everything else. It would be best if you automated security. Because enterprises deliver new versions of code into production 50 times per day for a single app, you need to implement, and automate security controls and testing early and everywhere in the development lifecycle. Automation guarantees that you use tools and processes repeatedly and consistently. It is critical to determine which security operations and processes you can fully automate and which require manual intervention. For instance, you can completely automate running a SAST tool in a pipeline; yet, you can't automate penetration testing and threat modelling since they involve manual labour. The same is also valid for processes. In a pipeline, you can automate sending feedback to interested parties; nevertheless, for security signing-offs, you'll require some personal effort. Kapsys creates many test automation tools with varying capabilities for performing security analysis and testing all across the lean software development lifecycle, from analyzing the source code to incorporation and post-deployment monitoring.

5. Update Your Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to Include Security Measures

Be sure to integrate software security operations across your organization's software development life cycle (SDLC). Previously, organizations would only execute security-related tasks as part of testing—at the end of the SDLC. Because of this late-game strategy, they would not discover faults, weaknesses, and other vulnerabilities until they were significantly more expensive and time-consuming to address.

According to IBM's Systems Sciences Institute, fixing a fault discovered after implementation costs six times more than fixing one found during design. Furthermore, according to IBM, the cost of resolving flaws discovered during the testing phase might be 15 times that of fixing those seen during the design phase.

As a result, always integrate a variety of security methods. Kapsys custom software development packages have architectures for risk analysis, dynamic, static, and interactive application security testing, SCA, and pen-testing. These are the most fundamental features in this phase. Adding security to your SDLC takes time and effort initially. However, resolving vulnerabilities early in the SDLC is significantly less expensive and more straightforward than waiting until the last minute. Finally, it decreases your exposure to security risks.

6. Foster a DevSecOps Culture and Mindset

There are numerous definitions of DevSecOps, but cooperation, automation, training, measurements, and sharing (CALMS), coined by Jez Humble, stand out. DevSecOps thrives on a climate and mentality in which diverse cross-functional teams work toward the same objective of continuous software security. When it comes to fostering this mindset, start with only a few self-driven teams. Your strategic initiatives should serve as guideposts for them as they attempt to integrate DevSecOps culture into daily operations while balancing security, scale, and speed. When the pilot teams embrace DevSecOps and begin to see observable benefits, they will perhaps become role models for other teams who may want to follow in their footsteps. Remember, working in iterations and gradually from individual teams to the whole organization is critical to developing a DevSecOps culture and mindset.

Bottom Line

Although there are several standpoints among security specialists regarding application security best practices, only a few matters, all of which we have presented above. Nevertheless, while it may sound appealing to develop and implement your company's software and security measures on your own, outsourcing this function will help you minimize errors and ensure security, making your organization difficult to exploit! Ready to start? Contact Kapsys today for the best deal.