Software applications are known as the weakest links to security and this makes them easily prone to security loss. As per a survey by Forrester, in The State of Application Security, 2020, the majority of cyber attacks happen either through a web app or because of software.

With time, developers create complex applications to fulfill all the business requirements for clients and this takes a lot of time. And when the apps become more and more complex, the development timeline starts to shrink, and software developers start going under pressure to come up with new features. 

This is when the software developers have to start relying on third-party libraries, open-source components. As a result, developers rely more heavily on third-party libraries and particularly open source components to achieve compelling app functionality. The increase in the use of open-source components forces companies to rebuild or adjust their software security measures.

Basically, when software developers are under pressure to come up with new features, the company faces real security risks. And the only way that can help organizations secure their software is by adopting new software security best practices and integrating the practices in their software development life cycle. 

In this blog, we will talk about secure software development and top software security practices.

What is Secure Software Development?

In the market, you can get ready-made solutions that have the capability to offer a structured approach to application security. And this approach is known as the secure development lifecycle (SDL).

SDL is nothing but a set of development practices that enables the software development services providers to strengthen the security and compliance of an application. To get maximum benefit, the development team integrates all these practices in all the stages of software development and maintenance.

What Happens if Software is not Secure?

When the software is outdated which means that its data, use, and storage capacity is weakened and everything is at risk. And this can make the systems more vulnerable to various attacks and data breaches. So basically, outdated software offers an open door to attackers.

Top Security Practices Every Software Development Company Follow

Some of the top security practices every software development team can follow this year are- 

1. Patch Your Software

There are many attackers in the market that can easily exploit known vulnerabilities that are associated with out-of-date software. So, to be safe from the common attacks or to avoid them, ensuring that all the business systems have up-to-date patches is a must. Regular patching is something that can be a very effective software security practice.

And to keep the software up-to-date, you must have an idea about all the things that are missing or not working correctly in it. As per a survey, around 70% to 90% of the software components in apps are open source. Therefore, maintaining an inventory or BOM (software bill of materials) of those components is essential. A BOM is nothing but a concept that enables the developers in helping make sure that they are meeting the licensing obligations of all those components.

Besides, it can be a bit challenging to manually create a software BOM, but by using a software composition analysis (SCA) tool, the developers can automatically highlight both licensing and security risks.

2. Automate Tasks

When it comes to attacking a system, the hackers use automation to detect security misconfigurations and open ports. Therefore, one cannot defend the systems by using only manual techniques. Instead, the software testing team must automate day-to-day security tasks like device security configuration and analyzing firewall changes. Basically, by automating frequent tasks, the testers can focus more on strategic security initiatives.

This proves that automating your software testing approach can be feasible if you have the correct roles and this includes maintaining a software BOM. It can help you comply with the licenses of the components and update open-source software components.

3. Train the Employees

Training your staff members is a must for every organization that is looking to have a secured DNA. Therefore, by having a well-maintained and well-organized security training curriculum, the organizations can train the employees to protect their assets and data for a longer time.

Besides this, the managers of the firm must increase the awareness training. The employees must get proper awareness training that can help them with secure coding. And all these measures must be taken regularly. 

4. Enable Least Privileges

One of the best software security practices is to ensure that the system and users have very few access privileges to perform their job functions. Therefore, enforcing the principle of least privilege can help significantly reduce your attack. So, eliminating unnecessary access rights can make the system secure.

5. Document Security Policies

When any company maintains a knowledge repository that comes with all details about the software security policies, it gives a clear idea to everyone about their security policies. Security policies enable your employees like security staff and network administrators, to understand what activities the company is performing and why.

Having said that, just deciding the policies is not enough, the managing department must make sure that everyone follows those policies.

6. Integrate Security Measures to SDLC

By integrating software security activities into the company’s SDLC (software development life cycle) from start to finish is the best practice. The security activities must include architecture risk analysis, dynamic, static, and interactive app security testing, pen-testing, and SCA.

Besides, building security into SDLC also requires a lot of effort and time for the first time but after it becomes a part of the system, fixing vulnerabilities can be cheaper and faster. So the integration of security practices can help in reducing exposure to security risks.

7. Create Robustly Incident Response Plan

No matter how much software security best practices you follow and integrate, there are always chances of a breach. But if the software testing department is well-prepared, it can stop attackers from any kind of security breach. Therefore, having a solid incident response (IR) plan can help in detecting attacks and limit the damage they can cause. 

Conclusion

As seen in this blog, there is a list of software cybersecurity best practices that should be a part of every company’s ongoing software development process. The security practices mentioned in this blog can help companies minimize the risks of data theft and secure their systems from any attack. Therefore, if an organization wants to stay ahead of hackers, integrating these security measures into its system can be the best choice.

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