Software Integrity Blog

 

3 ways that AppSec training benefits your long-term security strategy

A security training strategy can help your organization build key software security initiative capabilities. Here are just three of its long-term benefits.

Security training is an investment that yields critical returns to both your organization and its most valuable asset—its people. Training can directly improve key metrics like bug density ratios and time to remediation if it is implemented effectively. Today, I’ll highlight three ways that an application security training strategy can effectively benefit your long-term overall security strategy and mature your software security program.

Let’s cast our lines into the world of security training:

1. Security training is a capability

Building competency management capabilities is particularly important from a training perspective. This allows you to create a knowledgeable workforce and promote a culture of software security throughout your organization. One way to do this is to provide role-specific training, including computer-based training programs, or e-learning.

At the very least, your security training strategy should mandate an annual software security refresher course for all employees involved in software development. This refresher course will keep your staff up to date on emerging and shifting security topics. It’ll also ensure that your organization doesn’t lose focus due to turnover.

Continual training and mentorship are critical to maintain the competency of the team. They also enhance the effectiveness of your other investments in software security, such as static code review and penetration testing.

2. Security training is a preventative control

Your organization can use security training as a preventative control to secure your software. The software security industry is dominated by more black hat security expertise than white hat secure development know-how. The number of attack vectors and software-induced security risks continue to increase with the rise in new technologies. However, the industry remains crippled by its inability to combat such risks.

As the software security industry matures, more organizations are starting to realize the importance of vulnerability prevention. They’re also becoming more aware of vulnerability identification and remediation. A security training strategy that provides training and reference materials on secure coding best practices teaches developers how to prevent common vulnerabilities proactively. Additionally, providing real-time security tools to developers enables them to self-correct behavior much faster and earlier in the project life cycle.

3. Security training is just the beginning

Your security training strategy can be a mechanism to create active, effective security experts in your development organization. These experts (often referred as Security Champions) act as the resident security experts for your development groups. Their contributions lead to scaled fulfillment of the secure development methodology and improved software quality.

To build both knowledge and skills, Security Champion training should combine computer-based training courses and hands-on learning. Make training explicitly role-based to maximize how trainees benefit from the curriculum. Structure the curriculum to build knowledge sequentially and account for different learning methodologies in computer-based and instructor-led training environments.

Summing it up

If applied effectively, a long-term security training strategy can help your organization build its key software security initiative (SSI) capabilities. These include competency management, proactive vulnerability prevention, and a thriving Security Champions program.

Investing in security training can not only yield long-term benefits to your organization. It can also help reel in the overall cost of identifying, remediating, and preventing security issues.

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