Software Security Essentials: 8 Best Practices for Developers
Software development has become a significant part of our lives for several reasons. Due to this common use, every now and then, programmers face a range of security risks capable of disrupting the whole software development process. Vulnerable web services, poorly written code, insecure password storage, and legacy software are some of these most common risks.
Therefore, software security should be given due attention. Developers should follow some best practices to ensure software development security in order to reduce any vulnerabilities in the code, guard against cybercriminals and attacks, and maintain data privacy.
8 Best Practices to Ensure Software Security
While secure software development is an important procedure, it is usually skipped by programmers due to a number of reasons. Let's go through some of the best practices that developers should include in the software development process:
1) Understand the Technology Used for Software Development
Companies use different types of software development technologies to provide their clients with robust and efficient tech solutions that help them stay ahead of the competition. So, developers should have an idea of what is commonly used to enhance overall security.
In addition, they should have a full understanding of existing components, like network partition, hosts, and PKI, so that they can ensure the developed software will be operationally functional and secure enough to handle attacks.
2) Get Software Security Training
It is important for the software development team to have an understanding of the different security challenges they are likely to experience at the time of development. They can perform even better if they are educated on common security attacks related to application development.
Knowledge about different techniques and strategies cybercriminals and hackers use enables developers to avoid coding practices that can be exploited. So, they should partake in frequent meetings to communicate with each other and discuss secure development methods. These meetings train them to understand how to write code for resisting cyberattacks.
3) Use Updated Frameworks and Libraries
Companies require different types of frameworks and libraries for developing software solutions. Developers should pick well-developed, well-maintained, and reliable frameworks and libraries since they are likely to have fewer security vulnerabilities than others.
This helps developers with early bug detection while using open-source software components. Software programmers can better control the software security and limit the attack surface of the system. They should carefully look into the reputation of a library or framework before incorporating it into the system.
4) Keep Consistent Coding Standards
Coding standards consist of guidelines and best practices that are used for creating consistent, top-quality code. When the code is written using consistent guidelines, it is easier for other reviewers to understand and improve the efficacy of the defect detection process.
The coding format guide must be according to the programming language. It should include topics like file naming standards, non-ASCII character representation, and ways of using wild card imports. Likewise, there should be no rules that don't support coding consistency, reliability, or security.
5) Proper Error & Exception Handling
Error or exception handling is the process of responding to undesired or unanticipated errors or events during program execution. Though this process helps maintain the normal flow of a program, handling errors and exceptions is something that nobody wants to do.
But it is better to handle them correctly to avoid runtime errors. Mistakes made at the time of handling exceptions or errors can lead to different types of issues and severe vulnerabilities that can cause damage.
For instance, a developer can avoid showing a lengthy error message which can disclose technical information about a runtime environment beneficial for attackers.
6) Take Advantage of Code Reviews
At times, codes and scripts used for configuring, changing, starting, or stopping any service across the production are not reviewed. Therefore, to minimize the risk that gets prolonged because of poor coding, it is better to define the deployment process.
Determine what are the dependencies and prerequisites and remove any needless steps or redundancies. In addition, perform steps manually as needed. Review and handle the scripts which are used for assistance. Some common types of performing code reviews include pair programming, over-the-shoulder reviews, tool-assisted reviews, and email pass-around.
7) Test Before Publish
Before a software application goes live, it must undergo thorough testing. Security loopholes in software are often found through testing. So, it is important to follow appropriate testing practices before publishing any software, irrespective of the application’s complexity level.
Developers should test the application in different environments using different operating systems to determine its overall functionality. This can be done by setting up a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
A VPN enables users to create a private connection to protect sensitive data and communication. This can be used to test software solutions from different geographic locations and see how they perform for each region. A number of VPNs are available, including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, etc., which can be used based on different needs.
Some common types of testing performed in production include stress testing, performance testing, integration testing, regression testing, smoke testing, spike testing, and A/B testing. All these forms of testing help increase software security before problems occur.
8) Have a Plan for Security Patching
Software programmers are responsible for keeping their applications updated and free from any vulnerabilities by providing regular updates and patches. They should ensure that serious security issues are patched quickly before bad actors can exploit them.
Security patches help find loopholes in systems, prevent cyber attacks, and avoid long-term infection, among others. Not only do patches fix bugs, but they also address security vulnerabilities and instabilities in a software solution.
All in all, secure development of a software solution is a lot more than simply secure code. Developers should take a holistic approach and implement certain practices, as mentioned above, into their everyday workflow.
They should always look for new methods of improving and making their code more secure since technology continues to evolve and hackers look for different types of attacks to exploit software vulnerabilities.
Are you interested in the topic of security in software development? Do you have additional questions? Do you need to develop a quality customized solution from professional developers? Contact us!
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