Where is Your Risk? Vulnerabilities in Software Development

Vulnerabilities in software development

Organizations are facing a variety of software-related risks, and vulnerabilities introduced in the development process are just one of them. The sooner they can figure out where these risks exist and how to address them, the better they can mitigate them and bolster their overall cybersecurity profile.

In a series of posts, we will take a look at some of the key software risks organizations are grappling with today. First up: vulnerability risk that emerges during software development.

What Are Software Vulnerabilities in Development?

Many development teams might tend to downplay or disregard the problem of introducing flaws in software during the development process, possibly because they are highly focused on their principle task of getting new products into production. But the fact is, software flaws do get introduced during the development process, and therefore it’s important to have a solution in place to address them and fix them before a product can be released. One effective way to do this is to deploy DevSecOps—and more specifically automated DevSecOps—for vulnerability management.

The basic concept of DevSecOps is to introduce security as early as possible in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and then continuing to add security controls as needed throughout development. Rather than being an afterthought, security becomes an inherent part of software creation.

The DevSecOps model can lead to increased collaboration between development and security teams, as part of the effort to integrate security into the SDLC. In this way, DevSecOps provides an ideal foundation for an effective vulnerability management strategy. Specifically, automated DevSecOps contributes to four main components of vulnerability management: discovery, validation, prioritization and remediation. And each of these areas plays a vital role in helping to eliminate the software bugs that can present security risks for organizations.

Some of this clearly applies to addressing vulnerabilities in the software development process. For example, the ability to automatically discover flaws in code is essential for vulnerability management. Without it, organizations are not able to easily identify the vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited by cyber criminals.

How to Address Software Vulnerabilities in Code

Security and development teams, working together, can find software flaws through discovery by using tools such as vulnerability scanners, which analyze code to search for known vulnerabilities.

Validation is important for vulnerability management because it enables teams to determine which software flaws can actually present a risk because they are exploitable. On the other hand, bugs that are not exploitable don’t need to be as much of a concern. Among the key benefits of validation during software development is that it allows security and development teams to make fewer fixes, which provides more time to complete new products and features.

Prioritization allows teams to quickly learn which of the validated vulnerabilities need to be fixed first based on the potential risks they present. Not all software flaws will have the same impact when exploited, so using tools to prioritize which vulnerabilities to address soonest is important for effective vulnerability management.

Finally, there’s remediation. The key to fixing flaws efficiently is to automate the task, which accelerates the process of eliminating risks in the development process and at the same time speeds up the delivery of new products. By applying automation to remediation, organizations can ensure the most effective vulnerability management.

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