What many know but few apply about secure development

March 10, 2022

Most companies do some form of development in-house to streamline and optimize business processes. The problem is that many times security is not taken into account in this type of application. Let's see some characteristics of secure application development and the importance of taking them into account within the organization's risk analysis.

The haste with which a new solution is implemented in companies, to solve a problem or implement a new business process can have negative consequences for information security.

Theory says that a formal development process consists of at least five steps: requirements gathering, design, coding, testing, and deployment; and so that the development process does not become tedious, there are agile methodologies that speed it up. What should not be lost sight of is that regardless of the methodology used, security should not be relegated to the background or third level, or left as a pending task once the solution is implemented and everything is working.

Focus on potential points of failure

The best way to incorporate security into our development processes is to know in advance where it is more likely that these fail, taking into account aspects such as the human factor, the type of infrastructure that we have in our company and even the degree of exposure. Of the same. All this is achieved by making a judicious risk analysis.

In addition to the factors, with the risk analysis we will be able to identify those situations that are most likely to become a risk event. Coding errors, neglecting security requirements, lack of security testing, vulnerable infrastructure and even the use of outdated libraries or applications are some of the risks that should be reviewed before starting development.

Some activities towards safe development

Like any activity related to information security, training those who are involved in the processes is essential. So, from the employees with whom the surveys are carried out to the developers, they must be aware of the company's security policies and align their efforts according to them.

Once everyone is aligned with what the organization needs, the adoption of good practices becomes necessary to make everything work correctly. Carrying out adequate documentation of both the requirements and the development, carrying out functional tests before going to production and taking care of versioning are activities that help obtain applications with fewer vulnerabilities and, therefore, more secure for the company's information.

And where are the benefits?

It is clear that the context of computer threats with which organizations must deal today is very dynamic. There are many attackers who go around the network looking for vulnerabilities in systems to damage them or achieve some kind of economic gain, even those attackers could be within the same organization. Employees who seek to steal information or who mistakenly delete or modify important information are a latent risk in companies. So a first benefit of secure development is having an additional level of security against these types of incidents.

Savings in time and money are other consequent benefits of safe development. Applications as a result of secure development processes help to reduce efforts in identifying problems and correcting errors: it is much cheaper than solving errors in development stages than when they are already in production, in addition to guaranteeing greater availability of systems once time they are being used.

Spending one more week in the development stage can raise security levels, now the question is how much importance do we really give to having secure development processes?

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