7 Ways To Empower Developers To Secure Software

Katie Pierce
January 6, 2023

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Software developers are the heartbeat of a business. Without their creativity, innovation, and ability to get things done, businesses would not be able to compete in today’s digital world. Businesses rely on software developers for their ability to deliver innovative and reliable software solutions. However, software developers are not always equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure that the software they develop is secure.

Software security incidents are a significant concern for businesses because they can cost businesses lost revenue, damaged brand reputation, and financial penalties. This makes it crucial for businesses to have a strong security strategy that supports their software development efforts.

How do you empower developers for secure software practices?

Software developers are the key to creating secure software. They must be able to understand and implement secure coding practices, as well as be able to identify vulnerabilities that could jeopardize their organizations.

Empowering developers for secure software practices requires a holistic approach that can be achieved in many ways, and below are some of the key ways.

Provide access to security and compliance training.

Provide access to security and compliance training, a crucial tool for empowering developers for secure software practices. This type of training should be made available at the beginning of a developer’s career before developing any code.

A good starting point would be to provide them with security awareness training that will give them an overview of existing security threats and how their actions can impact them.

Embrace secure coding standards.

Any organization serious about developing secure software needs to embrace secure coding standards. Although there may be various types of software development, the core principles of secure coding remain the same. These standards will guide developers when writing code, ensuring that they follow best practices for creating secure applications.

Not only will this help to improve the security of the code itself, but it will also help developers to become more familiar with secure coding practices.

Establish a security bug bounty program.

Security bug bounty programs are a great way to get more people involved in identifying security vulnerabilities in software. These programs reward those discovering and reporting security flaws within an organization’s code.

This helps organizations to better understand where they need to improve their security practices while also encouraging other outside experts to contribute their skills towards improving them.

Instill a “security-first” culture.

Security should be a top priority for any software development organization. Developers need to understand the importance of building security in their work, and management needs to set an example by prioritizing security throughout all phases of development.

A “security-first” culture helps ensure that everyone involved in creating software knows how important it is to build secure systems from the ground up. This will ensure that security is not an afterthought or a bolt-on feature but a core component of the development process.

Utilize automated security testing tools.

In addition to proper security training and practices, software developers need tools that can help them test their code for vulnerabilities. With the help of automated security testing tools, developers can more effectively identify potential vulnerabilities in the code before it is released into production. Automated tools like pipeline security can also be utilized to test code as it continuously moves through the development process.

These tools protect against bugs and security flaws that human reviewers might otherwise miss. This is especially important for developers who lack sufficient security knowledge or experience to identify and fix vulnerabilities.

Implement incentives and awards.

In addition to bug bounty programs, developers can benefit from other incentives and awards. Awards are one way to recognize and reward developers for their contributions to your organization’s security. By offering awards, you can make it clear that security is a priority in your organization, encouraging other developers to take it seriously.

You may also want to consider introducing a gamified or challenge-based approach, where developers are encouraged to solve security challenges and even compete with one another. This can be a great way to engage your development team in security and encourage them to think outside the box and develop new solutions.

Encourage collaboration.

Encouraging your developers to collaborate is another way to engage them in security. You can do this by creating opportunities for them to share knowledge and resources with one another and by organizing team meetings where they can discuss recent projects and learn from each other’s experiences. Having developers work together can help them develop new ideas and solve problems they might not have been able to solve on their own.

Final Thoughts

It is important to remember that software development can be quite burdensome and complex. Developers face many challenges, and security is just one of them. Developers don’t just need more tools and resources; they also need enhanced support from their management and the community. The more support developers have, the better they can do their jobs and the better they can develop secure software.

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