IT Security was always a significant concern in the tech environment. Security breaches during the pandemic have brought securing tech products to the top of the priority list.
What are the top trends defining Software Product Security?
1. Building Security into the Development Ecosystem from the Beginning
This ensures that during the entire development process, security remains a core concern. Integration of data protection mechanisms from the initial stages is made mandatory by the Data Protection Regulation in Europe. Experts are considering similar measures for Asia and North America as well.
2. DevOps is now DevSecOps
DevSecOps is the term given to the attitude, processes, technology, and operations during the development of an app, tool, or software. It aims at building security into the development from the very beginning. So the Development, Security, and Operations teams work in tandem all through the product development cycle.
What’s the DevSecOps Workflow?
The code written by one developer is checked for possible security-related weaknesses and issues by another coder.
The application is brought into play with Infrastructure-as-Code tools.
Security configurations are activated into the Control Management System.
The application is tested through the Testing Automation. This includes all aspects such as UI, Back-end, separate security tests, API, and overall integration.
If the application clears all the testing procedures, it is progressed to the production stage.
Intense monitoring comes into play to check operational security risks.
Tools for DevSecOps
The top tools for managing DevSecOps during the CI/CD are the following:
1. Static Application Security Testing Tools These tools check the code for problems that may lead to security risks in the future. They are used up to the development phase.
Examples: GitLab, HCL AppScan, Coverity, CodeScan, etc.
2. Software Composition Analysis Tools
They are employed for finding weaknesses in the third-party and open-source components. Covering the license risks as well for timely identification and solution is essential for them. Accelerating the DevSecOps process is their concern.
Examples: White Source, FlexNet Code Insight, Black Duck, JFrog X-ray, etc.
3. Interactive Application Security Testing Tools
They are deployed to monitor and analyze the behaviour of the application during the run-time. By identifying the run-time level susceptibilities, it allows the developers to find the flaws in the code. The coders can then address the issues in the code to strengthen the security.
Examples: Parasoft, Veracode, Checkmarx, SonarQube, etc.
4. Dynamic Application Security Testing Tools
They are designed to carry out simulation exercises to protect the product from hackers. They work through the network and do not require code access.
Examples: Appknox, Nets parker, GitLab, HCL AppScan, etc.
Security Reassessment at each Stage
The strong beginning requires sustenance. At each stage of development, the risks are weighed for the necessary immediate steps. Each stage of development is often broken into smaller stages for denser, more in-depth, and detailed checks.
Innovation and Improvements in the Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL)
The SDL is now emphasizing on:
Continuous upgrading of the skills of coders with the protection of code in the center.
Ensuring that all teams and each member are at the same level of security training and awareness.
Regulatory requirements are no more considered frictional to development but as a firm foundation for smoother progress.
What are the crucial Product Security Practices for 2021?
Segmentation has to do with data, storage, and capabilities. By clearly segmenting, the team can ensure that the data is managed appropriately. In case of unwanted access, it would be easier to carry out security checks and measures. For storage, determining the right choices between physical or cloud storage is essential. Finally, segmentation in capabilities ensures a faster development pace and easier optimization. Overall, it’s about the better organization of the most fundamental aspects.
Automation can tackle many of the expected threats. So can the various probable ones. Automation can be attached to the auto-remedy tasks. It requires analysis of firewalls and security configurations. It saves the experts’ energy and time, which they can devote to novel security threats and strategic measures.
3. Ensuring Security from Design and Architecture Perspective
Threat modelling at the initial stage of designing will save a lot of time and effort in the later stages. It will alert the team to attacks. When they know about such threats in the back of their minds, the alertness will improve. Design documents will draw the boundaries for development level updates to avoid errors mid-way on the development course. Third-party component tracking is crucial in figuring out weaker components and fixing them promptly.
4. Sustained Patching
Continuous patching ensures that your product does not suffer because of old software. With about 80% of the components being open-source, security and licensing risks increase. Maintaining elaborate version details and not missing the latest patches enhances product security.
5. Least Privilege Principle
This means granting only the necessary and minimum privileges to systems and users. Conscious or inadvertent compromises to security are thwarted by ensuring the least privilege. Timely cancelling the accesses no longer needed and changing the access level according to the duty change is essential.
6. Mapping the Data Processing
Data processing map helps in determining the types of data the product will deal with. It also outlines the use of each type of data and the processes it will involve into. When an elaborate data plan is created in advance, the security team can prepare security controls in advance. It also helps allocate data to appropriate systems, define privileges, and control and process sensitive and personal data.
7. Greater Encryption
Well, there’s a lot of talk about the end of encryption with the coming of Quantum Computing. However, the Tech giants investing billions into Quantum Computing have already ensured that its uses will be constructive. So there’s no reason for losing interest in encryption. No point in taking FIPS 140-2 lightly. It would be better to take the Application-level encryption a notch higher.
8. Securing All Storage Systems
Keep all the bases covered. There’s no point in believing that if strong security measures are implemented for the internal storage, then networks and OS can be ignored. Strengthening critical storage is the key to securing the product.
9. Dynamic Testing
Dynamic testing does not just have to do with continuous and variegated testing to check risks. It’s also about constructing scenarios and conducting simulation exercises. Companies have hired expert hackers to help their teams with the process. They can find ever ingenious ways of causing trouble and breaching the security of the product. This is an innovative way of testing the team’s imagination and intelligence. Mature teams can rely upon the updates of latest forms and modes of threats and test the product more often and from different angles.
10. Quicker Incident Response Planning
Incident response is rooted in threat modelling. However, it has to look beyond that too. It cannot be caught in a frozen mold. Prompt action against potential breaches can be laid out in steps. What’s more important is the right anticipation of the threat that’s not been planned for or remains unseen.
Swift planning and execution at the moment of attack is the challenge that tech product security experts will have to take up. These are the ten effective practices that will remain central to securing products in their development and performance phases. However, securing products is not just about putting the right systems, procedures, and practices in place. Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below. We will get back to you with the answers soon.
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