It won’t be wrong to say that software has become the core of every organization’s operations. Be it education, medicine, or businesses in general, we heavily rely on software. However, this reliance on software comes with increased cybersecurity threats. Several cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, unpatched vulnerabilities, and various types of data breaches, can infiltrate the software. This can cause an organization huge financial or corporate data losses. Hence, to mitigate these threats, your organization must create and take benefits of a hardened software development environment.
What Is Hardened Software Development?
Hardened software development is the process of developing software using highly secure practices and techniques. This process aims at building software that is reliable, unsusceptible to cyber-attacks, and fast. It works by identifying and removing any vulnerabilities in the development processes, including technology applications and systems, infrastructures or other firmware areas. It also makes the entry points of an organization’s network safe from malicious activities and protects it from cyber dangers.
Some of the most common features of hardened software development are:
- Secure coding techniques: This involves using established guidelines and best practices to write secure, error-free code.
- Penetration testing: This involves simulating controlled attacks to identify system vulnerabilities and security weaknesses.
- Threat modelling: This helps the organization understand the nature of threats and how they can impact the network. It involves quantifying threats critically, pinpointing security requirements, and recommending remediation methods.
- Regular security monitoring: It involves checking the software for potential threats. It is essential to monitor the software regularly and keep the security policies up to date.
- Configuration management: This includes implementing proper security controls such as access control, prevention systems, network segmentation, etc.
Hardened software development is a systematic approach that uses automated tools to identify, audit, control, and fix vulnerabilities in a system. It helps keep your organization’s software complaint compliant with regulatory requirements and safe software practices.
Why Is Software Hardening Important For Any Organization?
IT infrastructures are getting more complex and more complicated with each passing day. The software contains massive amounts of organizational data, which, if lost, can cause enormous damage. All individual or corporate operations must be secure from hackers and other network vulnerabilities to avoid losing sensitive data.
With remote work trending worldwide, corporate data no longer stays in the office. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has empowered employees but, at the same time, has created new opportunities for malicious actors to hack entire systems. Many companies are still not paying attention to the security aspect while hackers are now exploiting technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) based malware to attack software. All of these and many other reasons call for a robust, hardened software environment for every organization.
What Are The Benefits Of A Hardened Software Development Environment?
A hardened software development environment brings many benefits to the table and improves the overall security structure of the organization. Here are some important benefits of a hardened software development environment for your organization.
Hardened software is designed to reduce security vulnerabilities in the system by using tools like firewalls, IDS & IPS, encryption, password managers, and so on. It is useful in identifying potential risks and eliminating them before they become significant issues. It minimizes the scope of data breaches, unauthorized access, and cyber-attacks.
By ensuring a hardened software development environment, your organization can enjoy a smooth workflow without fearing data breaches and malware attacks.
The consequences of cyberattacks can be disastrous, and to reduce this effect, every organization needs to comply with some essential rules and regulations created by the government. Various compliance requirements, such as DSS, HIPAA, or GDPR, mandate certain security standards for software and data. A hardened software development environment allows organizations to fully comply with these standards. By complying with these rules and regulations, organizations avoid facing penalties or regulatory fines. Not only that, but it also helps them become more reliable, trustworthy, and reputable organizations.
Efficient automated performance
Hardened software allows organizations to employ automated security testing and code analysis tools that enhance any network’s efficiency. Moreover, it helps in updating the system, patching security, disabling unwanted processes, and fixing vulnerabilities that impact the overall performance of the software.
Automation can fix security issues efficiently and quickly by reducing the time and effort required for manual processes. This can result in faster development cycles, faster time-to-market, and lower development costs.
Better quality software
A hardened software development environment can provide better quality software with enhanced security features and compliance. Hardened software is simpler to maintain, has fewer problems, and is less prone to errors as developers apply best practices for code quality. As a result, the software quality is increased, leading to better productivity and improved customer satisfaction.
An organization’s security is less likely to be jeopardized if its infrastructure is more secure. In other words, this will allow them to avoid spending money on recovery if a security breach happens somehow. A hardened software development environment helps organizations reduce development time and costs by automating business processes. It also helps reduce maintenance costs and risks of regulatory fines.
How To Create A Hardened Software Development Environment For Your Organization?
Software hardening differs based on the needs of an organization, such as the configuration of your server, its operating system, software programs, server hardware, etc.
However, here are some of the best practices for securing software development that organizations can follow in order to create a hardened software development environment.
- Create an effective security plan that covers all key aims
- Get rid of all tools, applications, and other resources that your organization does not use
- Use only updated and well-patched operating systems for your organization’s devices
- Adopt security practices like two-factor authentication and strong password encryption
- Configure authorization mechanisms
- Monitor and update your software regularly
What Are Some Important Tips For Creating a Hardened Software Development Environment?
Creating a hardened software development environment is a well-thought-out strategy. Here are a few tips that can help your organization in building a hardened software development environment:
Analyze the organizational needs
Before starting the planning process, it is crucial to recognize the needs and requirements of your organization. Aims, demands, and priorities all need to be carefully figured out.
Carry out an audit
Conduct a thorough audit of every computing server, including those currently used. The results can help determine which vulnerabilities are the most important. You can use configuration management, vulnerability scanners, penetration testing, and other resources as helpful tools to assist in the auditing phase.
Plan the entire process.
Devising a software hardening plan might be the most important factor in the entire process. Your organization needs to plan the strategy, tools, assets, and practices and execute them through a calculated and planned approach.
Go slow but steady
Creating a hardened software development environment might be a slow process. It takes time to figure out the resources, techniques, practice and come up with a viable solution. But in the end, a strong and established security mechanism tailored to your business organization‘s needs is worth the wait.
Use updated software hardening approaches.
Cyber threats and dangers are ever-evolving, and so are hacking techniques. There is no point in having hardened software that cannot upkeep with the innovative tactics of attackers. It is essential to update and evolve the software hardening techniques regularly.
To Sum It Up
A hardened software development environment is important for organizations as it implements the best security controls, providing automated testing and high-quality coding tools to ensure the entire network’s security. The tips mentioned above can help you create a solid and robust hardened software development environment for your organization. Stay ahead of the competition and enhance your organization’s security altogether.