In this age of technological advancement, it is next to impossible to think of anything that does not depend on software in some way. All this software is developed by people who follow a set of rules to make sure that the end product is flawless to the highest degree possible. The task of developers is not only to make software that gets the job done but is also secure.
The current increase in cybercrime calls for maximum consideration to the security aspect of software development. Here are the top 10 things that every developer needs to include in their development routine to ensure they get the job done efficiently and securely.
Feasibility and Requirements Analysis
Like any other project in the world, related to any industry, the basis of any software development project is the analysis of what is required. At the very base of it, software development is nothing more than creating a tool to solve a problem, and that can only be done by analyzing the problem itself.
Instead of jumping into writing the code, the first thing that any developer needs to do is to quantify requirements and break them into smaller problems that they will solve in the development process.
Write an Easy to Read and Test Code
No two programmers in the world can write a code that is exactly the same. Everyone has their own writing style and preferences. It’s okay to use your own style when writing, but you need to write the code so that you can read and test it easily at any stage.
Things like using consistent variables, adding comments where necessary, and sticking to one format throughout the code can make it easy for you to quickly go through it when needed.
The need for effective communication between the team and with the client/customer can never be overstated. A lot of troubles in the development process start from one of the involved parties not conveying what they want to say. This can later lead to conflicts and complications, and even a compromised end product.
Every programmer should be proficient in communication, and if a team is working on a process, they must collaborate well enough to not let anything be lost to communication.
Baking Security into the Development Process
If you want the software to be secure, which every developer wants, you cannot achieve that by considering security after the development is complete. Security needs to be a part of the development process from the very start. If it is a small project, you need to ensure that you are developing a secure project with testing and secure coding practices.
If it is a multi-team project, a security team needs to be assigned to the project from the start to make sure that the software is secure in every way. Here’s a detailed guide on appsec tools that you can use to make software secure.
Application Security Testing
There are two types of security testing: Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) and Static Application Security Testing (SAST). Both have their own pros and cons; what one cannot detect, the other can, and vice versa. You need to make sure that you are using all types of security testing to ensure the security of the end product to the highest degree possible. Businesses need their software to be secure, and it is a developer’s job to make that possible.
Get Help From Any Source
As a developer, you will face problems in the development process. Every new project comes with a unique set of problems, ones that you might not have experienced before. However, it is highly probable that the problem you are facing might be faced by someone else. That’s why taking help from forums, social media, and anything else can help. It’s a good developing practice to be open to help from any source.
Don’t Hesitate to Innovate
Not all problems in software development can be solved by existing norms. Some projects need innovations, and as a developer, you should never be afraid to innovate. Create new solutions for the problems you are facing. Just make sure that you are doing it securely and following the generally established software development guidelines [PDF].
Think on a Long Term Basis
When you are developing software, do not just make it work for a short period of time. Try to foresee how the related landscape would look in five or ten years, and make sure you address the issues that might appear over such a period.
Write Code you Can Reuse
As many parts of the code can be used across applications, it is a good practice to use a universal format for such parts so that you can save time by simply copying it into a new project when needed. It is a good practice to build your own library of reusable code that you can access when needed. However, you do need to make sure all such code is free of any errors and integrates well with the project you are using it on.
Hire Experts When Needed
Software development is a vast field, and it is just natural that one person or team cannot handle all the complications that come with it. If there is a part of the project that needs the attention of specialists, hire them. If it is a small project, you can have it done on a freelance basis, and if it is large enough, you can hire a dedicated specialist or a team to help you with it.
Software development is, at its core, a process of solving a problem with lines of code. As a developer, you need to start with proper analysis of the requirements, write a code that is easy to read and test, make effective communication a part of the development process, take care of security from the start, do application security testing, get help from anyone you can, innovate, think on a long-term basis, and get expert help when needed.