Software Integrity Blog

 

Help your development teams overcome challenges

Are these common secure development challenges keeping your teams from creating secure software? Learn how to overcome them by empowering your developers.

Secure development challenges and how to overcome them

Only when security is treated with the same importance as quality can your software’s integrity drive a proactive strategy rather than a reactive response.

In addition to ensuring software quality, development teams are under increasing pressure to address software security concerns. The high-profile data breaches that continuously arise are raising awareness of security issues. Because of this, customers, stakeholders, and boards of directors are asking questions of development teams that they never have before:

  • What are our areas of security risk?
  • How do we protect our customers’ and company’s private information?
  • Could a software security defect affect our customers’ safety?

Secure development challenges

Developers are incentivized to move quickly. When security or QA teams require code to be rewritten after it has been checked in or compiled, releases can be delayed. Work that has already been completed may need to be unraveled and restarted. Worse, if defects are discovered after code has shipped, implementing fixes can be unreliable and costly.

In many firms, development teams also bear more direct responsibility for finding and resolving problems. At the same time, many developers have limited experience with software security. Development leaders might struggle to create a consistent process that accounts for varying levels of expertise.

According to data gathered from the 2017 Synopsys Security and Quality Survey, 39% of security- and development-focused experts claim that the most difficult challenge to overcome when ensuring software is free of security defects is that their developers don’t have the knowledge or expertise to ensure the code they create or compile is secure.

Additionally, the development cycle isn’t as clear-cut as it once was. Many organizations have moved away from the waterfall approach. They now have distinct stages for development versus testing. Additionally, many firms are implementing a more iterative, continuous process. Tech stacks also include a wide range of frameworks and languages, including open source code, which are compiled together.

How software testing tools can help

Automation is key when it comes to helping developers balance the competing pressures of speed and security without requiring deep security domain expertise. Tools that scan for bugs in code can identify common quality and security issues. They can also give developers a chance to remedy them before the code is passed along.

Testing tools that provide results with high fidelity can be a developer’s best friend. They reduce a mountain of potential risks to a manageable list. Such tools can point the developers to fixes that can affect multiple instances of shared code at once. Additionally, in the context of the developer workflow, different types of security testing tools can be applied in different ways to identify different types of potential issues.

It’s time to empower developers

While there are many testing tools on the market, many developers are less than impressed with their experiences using them. Tools that aren’t chosen or implemented correctly hinder the development process, rather than support it.

The minimum requirements for testing tools are accuracy and speed. If the tools you’re using cannot meet those standards, the chances of them being adopted successfully are nil.

Beyond the fundamental requirements, adoption is tied to how well the tools empower your developers. The Developer’s Guide to Software Integrity outlines actionable ways to align your tools to developers and their processes.

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