Remedy for a ‘Dying’ Software Development Team

I know the title might sound a bit melodramatic, but in my experience, software teams that are living on the drip-feed of careless (read: insecure) coding and the arrogance of ignoring secure practices for testing and deployment are staring at near death, or at least inviting it.

In today’s technically developed world, software and computers have become fundamental factors in our daily lives. They play a crucial role in every section of our lives, irrespective of whether they are for our personal, professional or educational use. Simply said, their existence has made our lives so much easier.

For most organizations and enterprises, applications determine their entire success. Duplication and expedition are often in the spotlight while security is not considered at all. An insecure, vulnerable application often places these organizations and enterprises at risk.

Application Security

According to a recent survey report by the Ponemon Institute, almost 1,400 IT security and IT professionals in the United States, Asia Pacific (APAC) and European Union do understand and feel the lurking risk that unprotected applications pose to businesses. Application and software breaches are constantly rising and so are the security risks of running businesses in such volatile environments. Companies are not investing in software security, until they are breached, resulting in loss of revenue, productivity and customer trust.

The survey even showed that around 75 percent of organizations faced severe data breaches or cyberattacks within the past few years all because of one or more compromised software. Around 64 percent of security professionals say that very soon they will be hacked through a software, whereas, only 25 percent said that their organizations are executing significant investments in application security to prevent such increasing cyber threats.

In today’s technologically growing and developing the world, application security has become the most definite requirement to combat advanced cyberthreats and attack methodologies. In general, application security is the practice of securing numerous applications and software from external cyberthreats such as DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, data theft, SQL injection attacks and much more.

Importance of an S-SDLC

We all know what SDLC (software development life cycle) is: the process of developing a software with proper maintenance, design, analysis and implementation. But, what is an S-SDLC?

A secure SDLC (S-SDLC) addresses software security in every phase of the SDLC. It is one of the most effective and efficient ways to create highly secure applications that focus on robust design principles followed by severe security-centric coding, testing and deployment practices to secure the application against cyberattacks/threats.

Shortage of Application Security Engineers

While being able to build software in various programming languages is indeed an amazing skill to possess, it is also important for software developers to know how to create safe and secure codes. However, the growing shortage of application security engineers due to the large skill gap in the cybersecurity market has placed many organizations in a very tight spot, despite the fact that there are nearly 21 million software developers in the world.

In fact, according to Payscale, the average salary of an application security engineer is $95,412, which is quite high when compared to the average salary of an IT security analyst ($67,056), or a developer ($75,441). To decrease this shortage and help organizations recruit skilled application security professionals, it is important that software developers recognize the need to be trained and certified as application security engineers.

The Certified Application Security Engineer – ‘The Panacea’

Certified Security Application Engineer (CASE) credentialing and training program by EC-Council gives a holistic approach to application security, playing an important role in helping software professionals gain the required skills to create secure applications. Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) credential tests the knowledge and critical security skills needed throughout an S-SDLC while focusing on the significance of implementing secure practices and methodologies in today’s insecure environment.

With the CASE certification, an application security engineer gains an appreciation and understanding of OWASP Top 10 threats, Threat Modelling techniques, SAST and DAST techniques. One becomes experienced in:

  • conducting application security testing for web and client-server applications to assess vulnerabilities.
  • to define, maintain and enforce application security best practices.
  • to issue reports on assigned application and system scans.
  • to perform a manual code review of applications.
  • to capture the security requirements of an application in development.
  • to drive the development of a holistic application security program.
  • to rate the severity of defects and publish comprehensive reports.
  • to improve security posture and to be familiar with application security scanning technologies.

Most importantly, CASE certified professionals become experts who can develop based on secure coding standards that are industry-accepted best practices and who create a software source code review process that is a part of the development cycles.

Covering the entire spectrum of a secure software development life cycle and beyond, CASE spreads its training over 10 modules beginning with an overview to application security and attacks. A CASE professional undergoes a surgically segregated program that would teach the developer, all the phases of a Secure-SDLC, including 50 test cases of understanding static and dynamic testing techniques and 38 exclusive labs to ensure that the learnings gained from this session would be tested in a real-life scenario, thereby making a CASE certified individual, an application security engineer in all rights.

Saikat Bose

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Saikat Bose

Saikat Bose is an author, blogger, and cybersecurity enthusiast. He works as a content writer at EC-Council, one of the world’s leading information security credentialing bodies. His current professional efforts focus on topics related to cybersecurity and data security.

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