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5 Best Security Practices to Follow During Software Development

Hardik Shah

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security best practices

With rapidly evolving technology paving the way for a humongous software and application development market, developers have narrowed in their focus on a very specific area that raises major concern.

Two words; Cyber Security. Data breaches, malware attacks, and data leaks have gained the status of common occurrences with much high profile cyber- crimes making the headlines quite recently. Cyber-crimes have caused major loses for major corporates and small businesses alike leading to increased cybersecurity spend.

According to Juniper research, losses incurred due to cyber-crimes amounted to $2 trillion. The global spend on cyber-security will hit a whopping $10 million by 2021.

The primary target for the same is small businesses. More than major tech giants, it is the small businesses that suffer the wrath of cybercriminals, at times resulting in huge losses. According to a study by Small Business Trends, 43 percent of small businesses are severely affected by cyber-attacks.

Here are a few best practices organizations can follow for ensuring maximum security during custom software development.

1. Do Your Research

Cyber threats are on the rise. Simultaneously, cybersecurity professionals are bettering the processes to counter these threats. It is best to do your research. The internet is at your disposal. You can also consult professionals and colleagues with experience in the field.  

You must research well about security threats to software in their niche. Ransomware and phishing are two of the major kinds of vulnerabilities that software faces.

You must understand what other kinds of cyber-threats and vulnerabilities your software may have to face, what are the general standards for security that you must consider, what can be done to prevent cyber- attacks, etc.

2. Adhering to Specific Guidelines

While developing your custom software, it is best to research certain guidelines in terms of certifications and security laws you must follow before deployment.

Various countries have their own data-security laws that you must keep in mind based on your geographical as well as targeted location. For e.g., if your software collects or stores data of EU citizens, you must adhere to the GDPR regulations. Dubai, Australia, California, etc. have their own specific security regulations.

Apart from this, it is best to look into specific certifications that make compliance easier such as ISO 27001, ISO 9001, etc.  These regulations and certifications help you keep maintain software security which is at par with the industry standards.

3. Laying Out a Security Plan

The best way to ensure that all security measures are taken care of is to create a detailed plan for executing the same.

Layout a blueprint of security measures for your software development and do things according to plan. The plan must include coding, standardization, certifications, testing, and maintenance.

Basic aspects such as an SSL certification, HTTPS server, secure cookie policy, secure coding, data encryption, etc. must be part of the plan. You must also design the plan in a way that your software provides only the necessary, least possible privileges to the end-user. A checklist format can further simplify the plan. 

4. Testing

Before you deploy your custom software, it is best to test your software for bugs related to security. It will help you ensure that all security systems are up and running.

You must have all security measures in place including protection against specific cyber-attacks, data protection, notification system as well as countermeasures for your custom software. Only after thorough testing whether it is unit testing or functional testing, should you release your software in the market. 

Post-release, constant monitoring of software security is a must. 

5. Contingency Planning

You must always be prepared for an unpredictable breach or a cyber-attack. Always have a contingency plan in place to remedy any loss or damage caused by cyber-attacks. 

Any suspicious activities must be looked into immediately. In case anything goes awry, you must have an action plan on hand to ensure that the attack is remedied in the least possible time with the least possible damage.

DevOps, as well as the tech team, should work hand-in-hand to devise an air-tight security plan and execute the necessary steps for maximum security during software development. These practices can serve as a basis for the same.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, proper secure software development requires proper planning. Also, the additional cost of security in custom software development is not so high. To ease the process, developers should always keep the security checklist during development.

Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. He leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices.

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