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8 Tips to Help with Secure Software Development

Developing software involves many considerations. You need to get the coding to work, make the product user-friendly, ensure that it serves its purpose, and plenty of other points, too. In 2023, though, the top priority must be security. Secure software development has become the center of attention and is an area at which you must excel if you hope to have long-term success with a software product.

Secure software development isn’t just a series of steps to follow. It is a commitment to an end goal that should permeate the entire development process. Best practices should be established and everyone involved needs to be on board with what is required. To aid in making secure software development a reality in your organization, here are eight tips to help with secure software development.

In the ever-changing landscape of software development, prioritizing security has become paramount for long-term success. As we enter the year 2023, secure software development takes center stage, requiring developers to excel in creating robust and safe products. This article provides eight actionable tips to assist organizations in achieving secure software development and safeguarding their applications against potential threats.

1. Make Security the Top Priority in 2023:

Following the craziness of 2020, we’ve learned many lessons. One of those lessons is that cybercriminals will exploit anything, even a global pandemic, to steal data. Last year broke records when it came to cyberattacks.  This should be a wake-up call for any software developers who aren’t putting secure software development at the top of the priority list. As always, the first step towards any solution is making the effort to solve the problem.  Software developers in 2021 should all give great attention to incorporating best practices when it comes to security.

2. Thorough Testing for Enhanced Security:

Vulnerabilities in software code often serve as entry points for hackers. To ensure the strongest possible code security, it is vital to commit to comprehensive testing. Consider engaging external sources, such as vendors specializing in static code analysis, and leverage experts for dynamic code scanning. A fresh perspective from external eyes can help identify potential vulnerabilities that developers may overlook.

Dan Levin @ Liventus emphasizes the importance of testing vulnerabilities via outside sources in its secure software development guide. This includes conducting static code analysis with outside vendors and bringing in experts for your dynamic code scanning. You can do all the testing you like as a developer but there is always a chance you are too close to the project. Bringing in another set of eyes (or many sets) is a way to be stronger on secure development.

3. Get Ethical Hacking:

To truly assess the security of your software, engaging ethical hackers, also known as White Hat hackers, can provide invaluable insights. These skilled professionals simulate real-world hacking scenarios, allowing you to identify and address vulnerabilities before malicious hackers exploit them. Incorporating ethical hacking practices during development can significantly strengthen the security of your software.

 4. Keep up with third-party apps

Much of the software developed today doesn’t exist as standalone software. Many need to use third-party apps or web apps in order to provide the user with the best results possible. Even though it’s great that software can team up with other apps to be better, it creates another possible access point for cybercriminals.

5. Stay Informed About Industry Regulations:

If your software operates in a regulated industry, it is essential to stay informed about the latest regulations. Industries like finance, healthcare, and manufacturing have specific regulatory requirements, including data security and quality assurance standards. Compliance with regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or ISO/IEC 27001 is crucial for secure software development within these industries.

6. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

In 2023, two-factor authentication (username and password) is no longer sufficient to ensure robust software security. Emphasize the adoption of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your software. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring multiple verification steps, such as biometric authentication or one-time passwords. This approach significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and strengthens overall software security.

7. Encrypt Personally Identifiable Information (PII):

For software applications handling personally identifiable information (PII), encryption is crucial to protect sensitive user data. Credit card numbers, social security numbers, and health records are just a few examples of PII that must be encrypted. By encrypting PII and allowing access only to authorized users with the necessary decryption keys, software developers can ensure the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information.

8. Invest in Continuous Training and Development:

While technical measures are essential for secure software development, the human factor should not be overlooked. Developers themselves must receive proper onboarding and regular training to stay up-to-date with standard operating procedures and the latest best practices. A well-informed and well-trained development team is better equipped to implement security measures effectively and maintain software security over time.

Conclusion:

Secure software development is a critical aspect of software development in 2023 and beyond. By making security the top priority, conducting thorough testing, embracing ethical. hacking, and staying vigilant with third-party apps, developers can build robust and secure software. Staying informed about industry regulations, implementing multi-factor authentication, encrypting PII, and investing in continuous training further reinforce software security efforts. While the journey towards secure software development may be challenging, the benefits and protection it provides make it an indispensable endeavor.

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