Almost every aspect of modern life is dependent on technology. As technology becomes even more advanced and pervasive, so, too, does the need for secure software.
Today, even the tiniest breach at an organization could result in major loss of sensitive data. Therefore, it is crucial for both the reputation and proper functioning of the organization to have steady security measures in place.
Below are five practical ways organizations can deliver secure software by prioritizing safety and maintaining a sustainable “security culture.”
Organizations Build and Foster a Healthy Security Culture
A security culture, just like any other culture, thrives when it is used actively. Effective security culture is a one-time investment that can reap major benefits. However, it requires effort from the organization.
A viable security culture is based on four key features:
- The security culture is disruptive in nature and brings about immediate change.
- Security practices employed by the organization are engaging for everyone, not just the security department.
- A proper reward system is in place for the people who actively take part in security regimens.
- Investments made into the security culture are returned in one form or another.
Ensuring that a proper security culture is in place takes care of the biggest problem in the development of software—humans.
The establishment of a robust security culture helps humans in an organization more than it does the computers. It provides a proper framework through which employees at an organization can act to maximize security.
Some ways to develop the security culture at an organization include:
- Instill the belief into the employees that security-related issues are not just the headache of the security department; rather, the whole organization should work together to resolve them.
- Focus on spreading awareness throughout the organization by providing employees the basic security knowledge.
- Provide opportunities for advancements in security to team members who are more excited.
Despite having a strong security culture in place, however, breaches may happen. A proper security culture can help the organization recover more swiftly.
Acquire a Secure Developmental Life Cycle
A secure developmental life cycle (SDL) provides a firm foundation to monitor the security practices in an organization.
An SDL performs essential functions such as threat modeling, security analysis and requirements, and carries out security testing. The organization that acquires the SDL agrees to an in-depth study of their security on all the software and system releases.
Microsoft, for example, offers a free SDL that consists of security practices that could help organizations regardless of their size or platform. This is especially useful to those organizations that have just started.
Other benefits of having an SDL are:
- Detects bugs in the software earlier in the development cycle, which is cost-effective.
- Safeguards the interests of the stakeholders and investors, as it makes the business secure.
Overall, an SDL minimizes the risks that an organization faces and helps in advancing it.
Integrate Security Tests Into the Developmental Phase
Organizations should introduce security tests in the developmental period; that is, when the code is being written or when the programmers check in on their codes.
The introduction of security tests allows developers to correct their mistakes at an early stage, which effectively reduces the cost of resolving the problem. Developers actively get feedback, enabling them to design software with a smaller number of flaws.
Moreover, tests conducted at the developmental stage save time and keep the disruption caused by the whole developmental process to a minimum.
Have a Deep Understanding of What’s in Your Software
Developers should work with security experts to understand the software and the applications installed.
Knowing what constitutes applications—especially open source applications—is pivotal in patching any discrepancies that may arise.
Along with a firm grasp on the software, developers must be aware of application security.
Application security, or AppSec, teaches advanced lessons to the testers and developers within an organization and aids them in building secure products and services.
No security system is complete without a set of security experts who can train developers in specific methods and procedures. These mentors can be responsible for conducting security tests and furthering the advancement of secure software in an organization.
Mentors can also provide a learning experience to the staff members and go the extra mile to make sure security is accessible for everyone.
Organizations need to maintain a standardized way of delivering software. The threats we face today, if not dealt with, can have dire consequences.
However, the solution starts at the very beginning and needs to be integrated into everything related to software, from education to the way employees interact with each other in the workplace. Only then can we rest easy knowing our software and data are protected.