Security in SDLC—Don’t Make It an Afterthought
If your social circle includes a software developer, you’ve likely heard of the term SDLC, or software development lifecycle, in passing. It is the essential foundation taught to aspiring programmers in their undergraduate classes or even at a coding boot camp.
What is SDLC?
Software development lifecycle is a framework set in a predefined and cost-effective manner and followed by a software development team to ensure the quality of the software developed isn't compromised. Now, depending on the source of your research, you will find five, six, or seven phases involved in SDLC. The common five are planning, designing, developing, testing, and deployment—with feasibility and maintenance adopted as sixth and seventh depending on the development team.
- Planning: The team takes into consideration all the requirements set forth by the stakeholder/customer, including the cost of project completion. Towards the end of the planning stage, concrete software specifications are laid out.
- Designing: The provided system specifications are converted into design specifications, which are reviewed by stakeholders and developers to ensure all the requirements are accounted for and any gaps that can be anticipated are handled. Missing anything crucial at the designing stage can lead to a loss of resources.
- Developing: The stage where the development team takes the design specifications and comes to an agreement amongst themselves about the parts they'll develop and the timeline they'll adhere to, ensuring the final product is delivered within the agreed timeframe.
- Testing: Once the software development team delivers the product, it is handed over to the quality assurance (QA) team to ensure all the outlined requirements are incorporated and no bugs were discovered in the process. If bugs or other discrepancies are found, the development team has to fix them and send them back to the QA team for testing again.
- Deployment: Only when QA certifies a build or version of the product it’s deemed suitable for delivery to the stakeholder/customer.
Even though this framework may seem to apply only to the waterfall methodology with each phase sequentially following the predecessor, it is widely adopted by organizations, small and large, following various other methods, including agile and rapid application development.
What is the role of security in SDLC?
As we traverse further into the fourth industrial revolution of cyber-physical systems, where most of our days are spent using various software applications to take care of our day-to-day tasks, these applications must be secure. Long gone are the days when enterprises could afford to think of security in software products as an afterthought and add security-related tests during the QA stage of SDLC to see if the developers have delivered a secure product.
In this digital age where attackers are looking to exploit every vulnerability they come across in an application, it becomes imperative that the product's security is taken into consideration from the beginning, at the planning phase of SDLC, and then again at every other succeeding phase:
- Planning: When the team considers all the requirements, developers and security experts should consider all the risks their final product could be susceptible to.
- Designing: The design specification should address all the risks anticipated by the security experts in prior stages and add in solutions to mitigate the same.
- Developing: The development team should adhere to strict guidelines based on secure coding practices.
- Testing: QA team should have dedicated security tests to ensure the product is secure. Investing in DevSecOps tools also helps you catch any vulnerabilities quickly, especially if testing occurs early on and frequently.
- Deployment: It is highly recommended to put in place an automated deployment mechanism to avoid any manual errors that could result in a security lapse.
Secure SDLC & bot building
As your organization grows, so do your automation requirements, which translates to larger automation development teams. Naturally, it makes sense for your RPA center of excellence to adopt and implement a secure SDLC to ensure the automation developed also meets the highest standards expected of a software development team deploying a product out into the world. It also helps if the platform used to build your automation has built-in safeguards to protect your systems from outside attacks.
SDLC is an essential foundation, so protect that foundation with a robust security strategy. See what Automation Anywhere offers for maximum protection.