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Security by Design: The Advantages of Secure Coding Best Practices

Security by design starts from the requirement gathering phase and goes beyond the deployment and monitoring. Secure coding best practices can be a make or break decision in building an organization’s security posture during enterprise software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Secure coding is one of the most critical elements of the software development lifecycle and organizations must develop robust secure coding policies and procedures. It helps to mitigate the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the software product development process. Most of the time, security events that are considered “minuscule” are often the ones that lead to both financial and/or reputational damages.

For instance, a poorly written code or an untested computer program could result in a logic bomb or a buffer overflow incident, thus compromising the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical corporate assets.

Therefore, during the software development process, it is imperative for security measures to be baked into the software development process instead of making it an afterthought. As such, software developers and testers must always be searching for in-code security vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Key Secure Coding Best Practices

It is often believed that security hampers business processes – this mindset has helped to propagate improper software security culture within several organizations. Without a shadow of doubt, new age coding best practices ensure that both software development and security testing occurs concurrently. As such, attempts to place undue emphasis on expediting development does not hamper security implementation.

Below are some of the key secure coding best practices recommended for your organization:

  1. Monitor the OWASP top 10 security vulnerabilities database, and plan mitigative solutions proactively.
  2. Conduct input and output code sanitization, and implement threat modeling during and after the software design and testing process.
  3. Use a mix of automated source code review tools and manual code review. Leverage a combination of SAST and DAST while using automation.
  4. Have clearly defined policies, procedures, and guidelines for application security and secure SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).
  5. Use security-approved VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing) tools to unearth hidden software vulnerabilities.
  6. Follow a comprehensive, secure code review checklist, and empower the development and testing teams by continuously training them on secure coding practices.
  7. Implement separation of duties by ensuring that software code developers are not also conducting the security code evaluation.
  8. Follow and implement basic information security principles, such as the principle of least privileges, layered defense or ‘defense-in-depth,’ segregation of duties, etc.
Advantages of Adhering To Secure Coding Best Practices

A secure code does not only protect the software application, it also protects an organization’s information assets and reputation.

Below are few key benefits or advantages of secure coding:

  • Reduced Failure Rate – Secure coding improves the coding standards with simultaneous checks. It helps the developer understand the module better, and also assists in the improvement of the overall coding architecture.
  • Optimization of Development Time – Unsecured coding would leave behind swathes of loopholes that will be taken advantage of by malicious actors. It will lead to more time spent on software redevelopment at an enormous loss of work hours and money.
  • Security of the Software – Preventing unauthorized entities from accessing the code repositories is one of the keys to fostering a robust secure coding framework. In the absence of an adequate access control mechanism, the entire setup may end in a disaster. It is also imperative that corporate teams undergo a security awareness training program to help reinforce the importance of secure coding practices, and why it should be followed diligently.
  • Corporate Secure Coding Culture – The lack of a corporate culture that helps to facilitate secure coding practices is yet another factor that often gets overlooked by most organizations. Ensuring that there is a conducive environment for employees to learn newer security best practices as well as implement technical and administrative countermeasures that reduces human error, is pivotal to building a security-awareness culture. ‘Security is everyone’s responsibility,’ therefore such corporate mindset should be propagated firmwide. 

In Closing

Secure coding is an integral and indispensable part of an excellent software development process. Without taking adequate measures to secure data, the project will be hurtling towards failure. At GoldSky Security, our experienced and expert professionals help organizations to ensure that data security policies are appropriately implemented and followed, keeping your unique computing environment in mind. As software-related security incidents continue to impact every industry today, secure coding best practices  serves as a buffer against cyber threats looking to exploit the SDLC and/or supply chain of a software’s configuration.