Organizations are increasingly incorporating changes in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) in order to improve security posture and create a robust IT System. These changes are aimed to bring security at software development stage itself, rather than incurring expensive fixes for IT vulnerabilities post-implementation of the software. Traditionally, SDLC was focused towards fulfilling specific business requirements, functions and features in a step-down manner. It did not bring any security consideration to ensure system security is set as default through each stage.
Therefore, a security layer has to be added to introduce security early-on in the process for each stage of SDLC. Secure SDLC stages encompasses following steps:
- Inception Stage: Business Requirement Document is prepared keeping security aspects in consideration and foresee security concerns from a third-party aspect.
- Elaboration Stage: Based on Technical Requirement Document received from inception teams, analysis and design ensures that the security parameters are defined and considered.
- Construction Stage: Achieve greater security controls by building tools in line with functional and security vulnerabilities against industry’s security standards, such as OWASP.
- Production Stage: Running a penetration testing on scheduled basis for the system for any security threats and cyber vulnerabilities.
We believe that organizations that omit placing security protocol at the inception stage and elaboration stage will end up paying a higher price later on to fix disruptive events and loss of reputation. Here’s why:
- SDLC provides a proper flow to entire process of software development. The standard process that aims at development and deployment of software does not address core security issues such as cyber-attacks, data-thefts and related vulnerabilities. With data and apps becoming interconnected, data is often seen to be at a vulnerable point. As Secure SDLC works on a predictive approach that brings in safeguarding system, information and how it has to be accessed, it will become difficult to circumvent any future security threats that an organization may face.
- Bring security in SDLC process because a stitch in time saves nine. Failing or forgetting to incorporate security procedures at each SDLC stage may pave way for someone to exploit loopholes in the system and hide their tracks, delaying risk identification leading to catastrophic breaches. Including the security aspect during the development stage could help in negating costly fixes, delays in deployment due to patching, refactoring & re-testing of codes for security needs later on. It is like prevention is better than cure.
- Layer of vulnerability that emanates from open source library. With an increasing use of open source components in present day system development, it is essential for component developers to ensure that the open source components have been thoroughly vetted-out during design and analysis phase. It is easy to use open source products/library for a faster product/project cycle but a hidden or dormant vulnerability in to an open source component can lead to a maintenance nightmare to detect, fix and upgrade.
- Disruption in information systems may need greater controls and checks. Lack of enforced security protocols in the SDLC process may result into expensive vulnerabilities in information systems such as an application which is used to manage user identity and access. For instance, creation of orphan user accounts may be troublesome. While an employee may have left an organization all accesses need to be taken down, alternatively there is a possibility of shifting the information from one system to another. Because of lack of integration between organization’s identity management solution and information system, and no knowledge of orphan accounts, such accounts may be a source of a hacker’s target. Similar issue could be that of fraudulent transactions, wherein the app or software might not be adequately equipped to analyze trails or processes needed to ensure conducting of secure transactions.
As SDLC incorporates all the necessary steps required for the development of a software or application, organizations that include the extra step of security in the SDLC, gain in the longer run. Deploying Secure SDLC ensures that the problems emanating in system development and security are addressed, discouraging incurring costly solutions at the post-production stages or worse paying huge settlement amounts due to data thefts and privacy breaches.