In an era dominated by Digital Transformation, consumers have come to expect digital applications embedded in their lives, almost as an extension of themselves. The pressure of producing new features to keep and attract customers puts pressure on an organisation’s risk and security program.

To strike a balance between releasing the latest digital capabilities and maintaining security, software testing will be very important.

The strength of any software testing processes play a crucial role in ensuring business continuity, otherwise, any downtime leads to a loss of revenue, reputational harm and penalty for GDPR non-compliance. 

However, businesses hesitate to invest in cyber security testing programs because it increases their IT costs, without adding to the company’s bottom line.

There are also a lot of cyber security programs that are complex, inefficient, and might not reduce a company’s risk in any measurable way. 

Modern software processes can create new software features faster than ever, yet the vast majority of security processes can’t keep up. It is a huge gamble to produce code in this speedy and inefficient manner. 

Any software bug could lead to errors that bring down services, however, security bugs are much more likely to cause serious harm or downtime. 

Gartner analysts have estimated that the average cost of downtime is £4,500 a minute for organisations, never mind the reputational damage that a major data breach could have due to poorly tested code.

As organisations switch to DevOps and Agile models or move through Digital Transformation, providing software updates quickly, software teams can continually release new features and often push code updates as fast as they’re written.

What could go wrong?

This pressure leads to security bugs not being discovered or fixed within the code and numerous problems for organisations, including major fines, with regulatory environments, such as GDPR or the Singapore MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), pushing more emphasis on ongoing security checks and assurance.

This has led too many companies questioning, ‘How can we reduce the software risks in our daily software and features, whilst protecting ourselves from the trend of serious data breaches and downtime?’ 

Well, let’s see the current best practices and options:

  • Testing – Continual security testing, helps companies continue the speed of development whilst mitigating against real-time business risks. Gartner states that wrapping security into DevOps and Agile, “integrates security tooling across a software development life cycle (SDLC), typically as part of DevSecOps initiatives.”
  • Risk analysis – Combining this continual testing with integrated cyber risk analysis, allows companies to instantly understand both the technical and the business risk aspects, of the software they are developing today. Armed with this information, companies can reduce their cyber risk, reduce IT costs, and reduce the cost of compliance, much more than their competitors.
  • Automation  – At the technical level, this means automating and integrating all the security tools that an organisation would need to test throughout the SDLC. This can be difficult to achieve, yet when it’s achieved it makes software development application vulnerability testing much more efficient, and even reduces the complexity of these technical aspects.  
  • Transparency – The resulting prioritisation of remediation helps executives manage risk throughout all software in their organisation.
  • Collaboration – This frequent and effective security testing helps development and operations teams in coordinating the many security tests that should be performed on code. As such, continual security testing and risk analysis, solutions can be a significant enabler in implementing speed of development and secure code, taking the pressure off developers and keeping an organisation up-to-date.

Top Tips

Gartner also states six principles of trust and resilience that could help you to manage the security behind quickly released software.

Image result for Gartner also states six principles of trust and resilience

The six principles are as follows:

  • Stop focusing on check-box compliance, and shift to risk-based decision making. 
  • Stop solely protecting infrastructure, and begin supporting business outcomes.
  • Stop being a defender, and become a facilitator. 
  • Stop trying to control information, and determine how it flows, accept the limits of technology and become people-centric.
  • Stop trying to perfectly protect your organisation, and invest in detection and response. 
  • Move from controlling the flow of information to understanding how information flows

There are also various principle guidances provided by NCSC which can also give you a better assessment of your security posture based on your current rate of software deployment.

Digital transformation is re-shaping industries at an incredible pace. It’s designed to reduce IT costs and provide faster time to value. All too often security becomes a blocker to this transformation. To halt this innovative movement would be to halt progress and give the advantage to your competitors. By slowing down the development of software, we are hindering the capabilities of technology, which isn’t what we need. 

Conclusion 

Instead, a centralised security testing system giving organisations a simplistic and efficient way to report and remediate issues could help save businesses from further disruption. 

Regulatory landscapes are changing at an unprecedented rate, therefore, understanding and reporting these issues in a clear manner can create a security conscious, communicative business model, creating larger budgets for security teams in the process.

If these challenges apply to you, contact Uleska to learn more about how the Uleska Platform automates security testing and risk analysis, while the Uleska Consulting team deliver efficient and effective technical security consulting.