A software development life cycle is also called an application development life cycle. It describes the processes of software development from planning to maintenance. The processes are in six stages; planning and analysis, design, development, verification testing, deployment, and maintenance.
Before we delve into the best practices of SDLC, let’s quickly examine the benefits of having an SDLC before writing a code.
Firstly, an SDLC helps break down all the activities involved in building a code into smaller
tasks for easy management and control. Hence, it makes the whole process easier and saves the developers the time of having to start from scratch if any error is detected.
SDLC also allows complete control over the process of developing software, ensuring that the software systems meet all the requirements. To achieve the best software development result, developers implement different models such as prototypes, big bang, v-shaped, etc. According to research, over 80% of international software developers use the Agile model. Again, software development must follow best practices to achieve secured software.
So, what are the best ways to secure the SDLC?
Today, software products modern rely on open-source code. According to freecodecamp, software developers use up to 84% of open source in their routine. At the same time, this is not bad because open source components are an excellent method to boost speed in software development because they are not in charge of the open source codes’ security. The developers must monitor these codes during the SDLC process, from the planning stage to the implementation stage.
You must implement SCA (software composition analysis) tools to secure the open source. These tools will help you check if there are any vulnerabilities in these codes and fix these vulnerabilities early enough.
Another benefit of utilizing open source components safely is following usage regulations. SCA tools also check for licensing compliance to simplify the process, enabling developers to maintain a quick development rate while being consistent with open-source licenses.
When you discover flaws, focus on the major ones and fix them first before fixing the rest. No, we are not saying to ignore other flaws, but fixing major ones will stop the production of security flaws.
The requirements, recommendations, and guidelines should be concise. This will help the developers to a large extent. This also applies to every security instruction, idea, and guideline.
But first, what is thread modeling?
Threat modeling is gathering and disseminating facts regarding the dangers that could affect a specific system or network. This will make it easy to comprehend the types of threats and how they could affect the network. By considering potential vulnerabilities, threat modeling can also assess the risks that attacks pose to applications and mitigate these vulnerabilities early.
However, this has to be done with caution because it takes time to complete and can not be done independently. Hence, it becomes a clog in the progress of SDLC because almost all the components of SDLC are automated, and every stage is expected to finish quickly as there are new releases almost every other week.
Therefore, it is advised to employ threat modeling with caution. While it’s crucial to plan out every possible assault route, you should be cautious to avoid running into more problems that could impede rather than aid and secure production.
One of the standard SDLC practices today, which perhaps is the worst practice, is testing code at the end, that is, during the last phase of SDLC. According to the phases of SDLC, it is the last, but we won’t advise you to do that. Don’t get me wrong, though. If you cultivate the habit of testing codes continuously at each stage, you can easily detect vulnerability quickly. Doing this will only cost you time and money and having to start all over again when errors are discovered in the end.
You might need to implement reliable software services to perform automatic code testing. For instance, Scribe Security’s end-to-end software supply chain security helps you to evaluate your code throughout the software development lifecycle continuously. This way, you can rest assured that your code is error-free. Choosing a reliable software security service is the best for evaluating, monitoring, and frequently testing codes. It also gives you code assurance throughout the software development lifecycle, from planning to maintenance.
This is very important because there might be sensitive information hidden away in a dangerous place you’re unaware of. Manual discovery attempts are possible, but they take a lot of time and are not scalable, especially for CI/CD pipelines that undergo constant modification. Automated discovery techniques for the software supply chain can help achieve this quickly. These programs look for artifact repositories, build servers, code repositories, and a host of others, to assist enterprises in locating hidden or underutilized data.
One of the mistakes people make while securing SDLC is not integrating software security operations across SDLC at the last phase of the cycle. As a result, vulnerabilities are not discovered early enough to mitigate before they become big and difficult to fix. Though this might take time and be daunting initially, the benefits are worth it because fixing issues on time would save you from risk in the last hour.
Through penetration testing, developers can detect holes in their software and applications before cybercriminals find out. This is like an evaluation because it tests how secure the operating systems and network setups are.
This is a best practice of SDLC because it aids developers to be far ahead of automated hacking tools, quickly identifying poor operational practices and flaws and data breaches.
Just as choosing an SDLC model that best suits your needs is crucial, educating your team can not be overemphasized. If they are not familiar with SDLC in general or the model you have chosen, they will have problems during the six stages of SDLC.
Businesses can streamline their development process via SDLC. However, it’s wise to incorporate security throughout all phases of SDLC rather than waiting until testing (the large stage) to check for vulnerability. By doing this, you can be sure that cybercriminals won’t be able to attack your software.
Follow the best practices mentioned above to secure your software development life cycle and reduce risks.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.