It’s important to have a carefully managed and supervised software development lifecycle or SDLC. Applying key, oftentimes small, and practical policies and regulations to each phase of your secure software development lifecycle will allow you and your team to quickly spot issues before they get out of hand — before they manifest in their entirety, take roots and derail your train. Let’s investigate what a software development lifecycle is, how SDLC works, and what it normally includes. Fair warning, each team is different and each product is unique so some life cycles might differ, nevertheless, we’re going to discuss the baseline blueprint most companies take into consideration.

What is the software development lifecycle? 

The truth is that when it comes to building, launching, and updating/maintaining functional software, most businesses have it down to a T. A well-oiled machine that considers just about everything and has everything on schedule. The hiccups present themselves the minute those businesses start to test that very same software. Why? Most developers think of risk management as an interference, a bother that cools their jets — that makes them rework their codes, that forbids them from adding new features, that stalls their creative output. 

Software development lifecycle SDLC might very well be a bit of a bore, and not as attractive as creating revolutionary avant-garde tech, but it’s critical because it allows your software to take flight. Secure software development lifecycle (SDLC) is the framework for most of the process behind building an application — from inception point to updates. It takes into account the building, testing, coding, release, deployment, monitoring, and updates. 

Software development lifecycle SDLC 

Let’s talk about the phases and why it’s better to implement changes and fix them during these early stages of your software’s lifecycle. The quicker you spot the potential problem the faster you can fix it and the less it will cost you. 

  • Inception: this phase includes planning and resource audits. It’s a rough draft phase and risk to the overall project – whether it’s doable or not and if so what problems it will face – are taken into account. 
  • Design and Development: this is when designers take into account possible risks and list potential solutions as well as how said risk will affect the project in the long run.
  • Implementation: This phase of the software development lifecycle or SDLC includes the creation of functional software and system configuration. Here your system is fireproofed against the risk previously identified to see if the solutions worked. Also, new risks or bugs may arise. 
  • Maintenance: this includes debugging and updating once the implementation phase has been completed.
  • Audit: the final stage. During this phase in SDLC, risk managers assess if further refinements might be needed, if the changes to the project were substantial and if the project – with the bugs it still might have – is ready for launch. In other words, they balance the cost of postponing the launch date or further development, against the cost of further refinements to the software. 

How to make your software development lifecycle process secure against risks

Here are a few tips on how to properly secure your software lifecycle development process, practices that will help you mitigate risks and fix bugs promptly. 

architecture risk analysis

From the get-go, you must understand every aspect of your project. In many cases, while creating the initial blueprint, huge potential risks will rear their heads. Hiccups like requirements, the fact that you might need better coders, design issues, outsourcing problems, etc.

Code review

Review your code every time a new line is implemented. Not only that, but supervise just about everything before it’s given the all-clear. Have failsafe and firewalls as well as redundancy in place. That means implementing multiple coders, multiple proofreaders, and even AI-assisted software. 

penetration testing

Test your software constantly. Deep and for a long time. Not just doodle with it but take it through the wringer. Have multiple tests in multiple situations with multiple testers. 

threat modeling

Get advice from other corporations that have gone down the same road you’re starting on. In many cases, the threats that they encountered are the same ones that might blindsight you. They will give you case studies that might mirror your situation.

team training

Pro-tip, train your team. Your current project manager might be a wonder when it comes to what they are doing in the present, but softer creation might be too overwhelming, too left field for them. It’s important to have a team that’s trained on what they will experience and how to face those hiccups. In many cases bugs might be frustrating and might demoralize teams and bring down productivity levels — it’s important to have a team that is psychologically trained for SDLC. 

Why apply security measures to all phases of a software development lifecycle?

Because of cost.

In the relative past, most organizations only performed security-related activities, tweaking issues and overseeing if one flew under the radar, in the testing phase. This was the go-to way of doing things. As a result, they would spot bugs, flaws, and other gremlins in the system late in the game. This oftentimes would mean one of two things. Either the software would be released as is, with a series of patches slowly trickling into consumer’s hands as “updates.” Or the corporation would backtrack and try to fix the problem, in many cases working against the clock, missing launch dates, and having to pay exorbitant expenses – like extra hours to staff members – out of their pocket. It was time-consuming and far more expensive. 

Benefits of making your SLDC process secure

The Systems Science Institute at IBM reported that a punch to the gut, at the testing stage, could end up costing a business 6x more than if they had uncovered glitches during coding or design. Most of those glitches, in many cases, were foreseeable, the same study revealed. Not only that, most of those glitches had been previously identified by someone – either a coder or project manager – and due to a lack of framework had not been addressed. Adding insult to injury, the costs of fixing a bug at such a late stage could end up costing a company 15x.

In the end, implementing a software development lifecycle management will end up saving you money, headaches and will streamline your operation, boosting your chances of success.