How to Integrate Security into Your Software Development Life Cycle

How to Integrate Security into Your Software Development Life Cycle-3Anything on the internet is accessible to the public. That is the truth of the digital age we live in. Unless you take certain steps to ensure security, those with malicious intent can easily find the vulnerabilities in your products and use them to infiltrate your systems. The software development life cycle is no different.

What is the Software Development Life Cycle?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is essentially the process of conceptualizing, designing, and ultimately developing an application. Some SDLC frameworks include the Waterfall methodology, the Agile methodology, and the Iterative approach.

Each framework follows a different structure and approach, and businesses tend to use whichever one best benefits their industry. However, all SDLCs share the same general stages:

  • The Planning and Gathering Requirements Stage
  • The Design Stage
  • The Test Planning Stage
  • Coding Stage
  • The Testing and Results Stage
  • The Finalization, Release, and Maintenance Stage

Why is SDLC Security Important?

How to Integrate Security into Your Software Development Life Cycle1-1SDLC security ensures that the final software output has no (or minimal) flaws, clean code, and poses no security risk to the businesses using it.

Unfortunately, although this seems like a high priority, many traditional SDLC frameworks only employ security-related activities during the Testing and Results stage.

As a result, a large number of issues can slip past the testing stage and make it into the final product.

A secure SDLC ensures that security-related activities are implemented at every stage of the software development life cycle. Examples of such activities include architecture analysis, multiple code reviews, and penetration testing. In doing so, vulnerabilities are reduced or flat-out eliminated, guaranteeing the integrity of the final product.

Step 1. Incorporate Industry-Standard Security Frameworks

This should happen as early as the Planning/Gathering Requirements stage. The moment you decide to build a new application, you need to incorporate a trusted security model into your SDLC. This will infuse each stage of your chosen software development process with security design principles and best practices.

Step 2. Subscribe to—and Establish—a Risk Management Process

Once you’ve incorporated a viable security framework into your existing SDLC methodology, you need to find and include another industry-standard model: one for risk management and mitigation.

Risk Management Processes are professional procedures that can identify and assess major risks to your software. Upon positive identification, they also yield corresponding mitigation plans to control these threats and subdue them.

Step 3. Implement Architecture Reviews

How to Integrate Security into Your Software Development Life Cycle2-1An Architecture Review is a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the software’s design. It’s an extensive process that needs to happen during the Design stage as identifying and redesigning the application at later stages would be neither time-efficient nor cost-effective.

In fact, a complete redesign during coding, testing, or maintenance stages may delay the project or bring it over budget. This is where an architecture review can help software developers identify potentially fatal flaws. Moreover, catching these flaws early gives them time to create viable solutions that are more effective and comprehensive than last-stage patch jobs.

Related Content: Top Things to Understand About the Software Development Process

The software development life cycle is a necessary procedure that can be compromised at every stage. Active analysis and consistent quality assurance can help developers detect flaws, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses before they compromise the end product. Integrating security into your SDLC is highly beneficial to everyone involved—reducing costs, shortening timelines, and yielding high-quality results.

Topics: Software Development Tips and Tricks, software development projects