The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a framework used to develop, deploy, and maintain software. The framework formalizes the tasks or activities into six to eight phases with the goal to improve software quality by focusing on the process. Formalizing the steps is intended to allow measurement and analysis that can be used for improvements while monitoring progress and costs.
The phases of the SDLC:
- Plan: determine the scope and purpose of the software
- Requirements: define what functions the software should perform
- Design: decide key parameters like architecture, platforms, and user interfaces
- Build: create and implement the software
- Document: produce the information to help users and stakeholders understand how to use and operate the software
- Test: validate that the software fulfills the requirements
- Deploy: make the software available to its intended users
- Maintain: resolve bugs or vulnerabilities discovered in the software
At first glance, SDLC and application lifecycle management (ALM) seem very similar as they both deal with the process of software development and management. SDLC can be considered a subset of ALM that is primarily focused on the development phase. ALM is usually used to take a broader view of managing a software portfolio, while the domain of SDLC is a single application.
A common problem in software development is that security related activities are deferred until the testing phase, which is late in the SDLC after most of the critical design and implementation has been completed. The security checks performed during the testing phase can be superficial, limited to scanning and penetration testing, which might not reveal more complex security issues. Problems discovered at this late stage of the SDLC process often cause delays going to production. These problems are more time consuming and expensive to fix because they can require redevelopment and retesting.
Implementing effective security processes requires teams to “shift left” –– including security concerns in each phase of the SDLC, starting at project inception and running throughout the project. To adopt a secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC), there are security steps to add at each phase of the SDLC. These include:
To be prepared for the ever-increasing landscape of security threats, organizations need a continuously updated set of security practices and processes. As part of a SSDLC, security gates and controls need to be implemented early throughout development and deployment processes. To iterate quickly, organizations have turned to DevOps processes and automated continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. To avoid a bottleneck, security also needs to be a continuous and automated process. Development teams need to be responsible for application security in addition to design, building, operations, and maintenance.
DevSecOps is a set of practices that include people, processes, and technology intended to improve speed and efficiency of software development, while providing better security, improved consistency, repeatability, and collaboration. The key to DevSecOps is creating shared ownership across development, operations, and security. The goals of DevSecOps include:
- Improve safety and minimize risks by removing more security vulnerabilities early in the application development and infrastructure lifecycle, which can reduce potential production issues.
- Enhance efficiency and speed of DevOps release cycles by removing legacy security practices and tools. Using automation, standardizing on a toolchain, and implementing infrastructure as code, security as code, and compliance as code for repeatability and consistency can result in an improved development process.
- Lessen risk and increase visibility by implementing security gates early in the application development and infrastructure lifecycle to reduce the possibility of human error and improve security, compliance, predictability, and repeatability while reducing audit concerns.
Moving through the four stages of DevSecOps maturity model will help ensure that security can be woven through the CI/CD pipeline and adjusted as business and/or global conditions change. The Open Web Application Security Project® (OWASP) is a nonprofit foundation that facilitates community-led open-source software projects to improve software security and IT security awareness. OWASP offers projects, tools, documents for free that you can use to improve your security development lifecycle.
Software supply chain security combines best practices from risk management and cybersecurity to help protect the software supply chain from potential vulnerabilities. The software supply chain is made up of everything and everyone that touches your code in the SDLC, from application development to the CI/CD pipeline and deployment.
Software supply chain security is important to your organization, your customers, and any organization that relies upon open source contributions. While no organization wants to be breached, it also does not want to be responsible for another organization encountering a similar event. Implementing protections for your software supply chain is the key.
Some supply security best practices that security teams should consider include:
- Providing least privilege access to resources across the supply chain (e.g. developer tools, source code repositories, and other software systems), enabling multi-factor authentication, and using strong passwords.
- Hardening the security of all your connected devices and sensitive data.
- Knowing your suppliers and who you do business with, starting with your tier-one suppliers. Conducting risk assessments to evaluate each supplier's cybersecurity posture and public policies on vulnerabilities.
Red Hat offers trusted open source software that helps organizations implement a layered security approach across the infrastructure and application stack and lifecycle for better security on-premise, in the cloud, or at edge sites. Red Hat technologies are developed with a process that focuses on securing the software supply chain. With this foundation focused on security, organizations can turn their focus to building, managing, and controlling hybrid environments, implementing an automation strategy, and developing security in the SDLC with DevSecOps practices.
Red Hat and its security partner ecosystem bring a comprehensive DevSecOps approach to help organizations continue to innovate without sacrificing security. Red Hat has the expertise and ability to offer a robust portfolio to build, deploy, and run security-focused apps across an open hybrid cloud to help organizations wherever they are in their DevSecOps journey.