In general, SDLCs include the following phases:
- Planning and requirements
- Architecture and design
- Test planning
- Testing and results
- Release and maintenance
In the earliest SDLC systems, organizations waited until the testing stage to perform security-related activities. Worse yet, in many cases, insecure code went out the door because of time constraints. This is why teams instituted “shift left” processes to bring security activities into alignment with development. As SDLC systems have evolved even further, this process has expanded to the idea of “shift everywhere,” which integrates security concerns into all stages of development.
The later a bug is found in the SDLC, the more expensive it becomes to fix. When a bug is found late in the cycle, developers must drop the work they are doing, and go back to revisit code they may have written weeks ago. Even worse, when a bug is found in production, the code gets sent all the way back to the beginning of the SDLC. At this point, the domino effect can kick in, and fixing bugs winds up bumping back other code changes. So not only is the bug going to cost more to fix as it moves through a second round of SDLC, but a different code change could be delayed, which adds costs as well.
The better, faster, and cheaper approach is to integrate security testing across every stage of the SDLC, to help discover and reduce vulnerabilities early and build security in as you code. Security assurance activities include architecture analysis during design, code review during coding and build, and penetration testing before release.
Here are some of the primary advantages of a secure SDLC approach.
- Your software is more secure.
- All stakeholders are aware of security considerations.
- You detect design flaws early, before they’re coded into existence.
- You reduce your costs, thanks to early detection and resolution of defects.
- You reduce overall intrinsic business risks for your organization.