What is Secure SDLC?

The Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is a structured process which enables high-quality software development, at a low cost, in the shortest possible time. Secure SDLC (SSDLC) integrates security into the process, resulting in the security requirements being gathered alongside functional requirements, risk analysis being undertaken during the design phase, and security testing happening in parallel with development, for example.

Secure SDLC processes dovetails with DevSecOps, and works in all delivery models from the traditional waterfall and iterative, to the increased speed and frequency of agile and CI/CD.

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What is Secure SDLC?

How does Secure SDLC Work?

Secure Software Development Lifecycle brings security and testing into each development stage:

  • Planning: This stage in the Secure SDLC means collating security inputs from stakeholders alongside the usual functional and non-functional requirements, ensuring security definitions are detailed and embedded from the outset.
  • Development: Product development is  enhanced by Secure SDLC with security best practices leveraged to create code that is secure by design, as well as establishing static code review and testing in parallel with development to ensure this is the case.
  • Build:  Secure SDLC demands that the processes used to compile software also be monitored, and security assured.
  • Testing: Testing throughout the lifecycle is critical to Secure SDLC, and now includes assurance that all security requirements have been met as defined. Test automation and continuous integration tooling are essential to a functional Secure SDLC.
  • Release and Deploy: The release and deploy lifecycle stages are bolstered by Secure SDLC, with additional monitoring and scanning tooling deployed to ensure software product integrity is maintained between environments. CI/CD pipelines automate secure and consistent delivery.

Operations: This utilizes automated tooling to monitor live systems and services, making staff more available to address any zero-day threats that may emerge.

Why is Secure SDLC Important?

Secure Software Development Lifecycle seeks to make security everybody’s responsibility, enabling software development that is secure from its inception. Put simply, Secure SDLC is important because software security and integrity are important. It reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities in your software products in production, as well as minimizing their impact should they be found.

Gone are the days of releasing software into production and fixing bugs as they are reported. Secure Software Development Lifecycle puts security front and center, which is all the more important with publicly available source code repositories, cloud workloads, containerization, and multi-supplier management chains. Secure SDLC provides a standard framework to define responsibilities, increasing visibility and improving the quality of planning and tracking and reducing risk.

The Benefits of Secure SDLC

As Secure Software Development Lifecycle integrates security tightly into all phases of the lifecycle there are benefits throughout  the lifecycle, making security everybody’s responsibility and  enabling software development that is secure from its inception. Some of the biggest benefits are as follows:

  • Reduced Costs: Thanks to early identification of security concerns allowing the embedding of controls in parallel. No more patching post-deployment.
  • Security-First: Secure SDLC builds security-focussed cultures, creating a working environment where security comes first, and everyone’s eyes are on it. Improvements happen across the organization.
  • Development Strategy: Defining security criteria from the outset improves technology strategy, making all team members aware of the security criteria of the product, and ensuring developer security throughout the lifecycle.
  • Better Security: Once Secure SDLC processes are embedded, security posture improves across the whole organization. Organizations that are security aware reduce their risk of cyberattack significantly.

Secure SDLC Best Practices

Now that we’ve established that securing your SDLC is a good move, let’s look at how to go about it.

  1. Culture: Establish a culture where security is paramount. Identify key security concerns at project kick-off and build security into the code you develop from the beginning. Extend that security-first mindset to include dependencies, deployment tools, and infrastructure, protecting every link in the chain.
  2. Standardization: Create a consistent Secure SDLC development roadmap, facilitating continuous improvement with embedded security. Create requirements that mandate security best practices, as well as tooling to help developers adhere to the process. Responses to security vulnerabilities should also be standardized, enabling consistency.
  3. Testing: Test regularly using static analysis security testing (SAST), shift left to start testing as soon as possible, and use threat modeling to keep your security position up to date as threats evolve. This ensures that code remains secure throughout the lifecycle by identifying deviations from accepted practices.
  4. Penetration Testing: While Secure Software Development Lifecycle promotes testing throughout the lifecycle, it does not mean an end for penetration testing. With Secure SDLC promoting testing throughout the lifecycle, penetration testing is often conducted later but remains the benchmark for risk management and proactive security.
  5. Document and manage: Security vulnerabilities identified during the development lifecycle must be documented, and remediation managed. These vulnerabilities may be discovered at any time with continuous monitoring and must be reacted to in a timely manner to prevent the risk profile and remediation costs from increasing.

A properly implemented SSDLC will result in comprehensive security, high quality products, and effective collaboration between teams.

SSDLC and Developer Security

Developer security represents shift-left taken to its ultimate conclusion, providing security tools and training to your development staff, enabling security scanning, test, and remediation from a developer integrated development environment (IDE). Equipping developers with the tools to recognize and remediate OWASP vulnerabilities and prevent malicious entry, results in applications that are built with security in mind and protect against data breach.

This is particularly helpful for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) regulatory compliance, which requires that processes exist to ensure developers code securely.

Developer Security with CloudGuard Spectral

One of the most significant risks during the Software Development Lifecycle is credential leakage. With cloud computing and publicly accessible source code repositories,  A hard coded set of credentials used to save time, or a manual code review that failed to identify an exposed secret could be embarrassing at best. It is all too often extremely costly.

CloudGuard Spectral offers smart detection, real-time commit verification, sanitisation of historical records, clearly displayed results, and full post-incident analysis capabilities. CloudGuard Spectral continuously monitors your known and unknown assets to prevent leaks at source, and integration is a simple 3-step process:

  1. Connect your repository or CI/CD: CloudGuard Spectral integrates with all leading technologies.
  2. Continuous Monitoring: CloudGuard Spectral continuously scans, using proprietary machine-learning for real-time detection.
  3. Custom Alerts: Receive custom alerts, putting the information at your fingertips.

CloudGuard Spectral provides your team with security-first tools to safeguard your digital assets. Click here for your CloudGuard Spectral free trial.

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