In software development, you never go directly from an idea to programming. First, you need to plan. While planning can be the most contentious phase of the secure software development life cycle, it is also often the most important. During this phase, you will determine what the security requirements are for your project.
At this stage, you and your team will need to ask some critical questions:
- What are the security requirements of this project?
- What are your potential vulnerabilities?
- What are the current vulnerabilities facing similar projects? What future vulnerabilities are likely?
- How can these vulnerabilities be investigated and tested?
- What kinds of phishing or social engineering challenges might this project face? Are there user awareness issues that need to be addressed? How can these problems be mitigated?
Security requirements planning gives you an essential foundational understanding of how you need to design security protections for the software you are developing. As the old axiom goes, failing to plan means planning to fail.
Once you have completed the requirements planning phase of the secure software development lifecycle, you can begin designing the software. Software design should be in line with planning done beforehand and should be done in preparation for real-world implementation.
In the design phase of the secure software development life cycle, security requirements are implemented and coded according to secure coding standards. This means that the program parameters adhere to all current security standards. Also, the program must be built using the latest security architecture, which ensures the most up-to-date protections.
Finally, developers should also give a lot of thought to the design of a security architecture for their programs. This means that when building the software, they must implement all relevant security requirements and control for a variety of factors, including risk management, legal restrictions, and social engineering vulnerabilities.
After the design stage of the project is complete, the actual development of the software can begin. In this context, development refers to the actual coding and programming of the application. Development works best when basic security principles are taken into account.
This means the following:
- Development must be carried out using secure coding standards. Programmers must have an up-to-date understanding of the relevant security standards and how they apply to the current project.
- Development must properly implement secure frameworks and design patterns. This refers to the security architecture of the software. Program development can only be successful if you use the appropriate security relationships.
- Development should take advantage of the latest secure coding practices. This generally means using updated versions of programming languages that better address current security standards.
Once the project has been designed and developed, you can start testing it in an alpha or beta phase. This involves subjecting the project to a series of rigorous security tests. There are many ways to perform such tests, including working with a certified ethical hacker (C|EH) or penetration tester.
In penetration testing, a security professional will try to hack into your system like an outsider would using any number of commonly used methods. Penetration tests often involve trying to breach firewalls, access secure registries, or attach simulated ransomware to your databases. By doing so, the penetration tester will record your potential vulnerabilities and report them to you later.
Penetration testing is a fantastic tool that allows you to determine potential vulnerabilities in your program. AC|EH can perform this form of testing and inform you of vulnerabilities in your program. They can also make recommendations about the types of improvements you can make to better protect your program or empower users.
Deployment and Maintenance
A developer’s work does not end with the implementation of a project. Only after a project starts operating in a real-world environment can a developer really see if the project design is appropriate for the situation.
Developers need to regularly update deployed software. This means creating patches to address potential security vulnerabilities and ensuring that the product is constantly updated to account for new threats and issues. Additionally, initial testing may have missed obvious vulnerabilities that can only be found and addressed through regular maintenance. This means that a software developer must stay involved in developing a program even after others are using it. It also means that the secure software development lifecycle requires that you create a simple process for applying patches to software.
Are there guarantees in the software industry? Of course, no. However, the cycle described above is the best tool available to ensure that you create the best possible software product. The five steps of the secure software development lifecycle can help you and your organization create an ideal software product that meets your customers’ needs and enhances your reputation.
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